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Published by





Third Quarter 2010 Daniel R. Dela Cruz Publisher & CEO

Bing Lau Emilie Nagano

Associate Publishers

Ma. Flordeliza C. Leong Editor-in-Chief

Emmarita Z. Mijares Managing Editor

Chrysler de Guzman Creative Director

Ann Hazel P. Javier Elsa Dela Paz-Valenzuela Marketing Directors

Ritchelle J. Alburo May Ann R. Rosales Grace T. Mirasol Correspondents

Raquel D. Abella

Promotions Manager

Noel M. Calva Leslie Venzon-Gatpolintan Dianne DV Masalunga Elizabeth Mijares Mercedes R. Samson Sr. Account Manager

Renne Isidro Atty. William Jasarino Steve Rogers Atty. May Ann Rosales Rosan Golez Columnists

Sonny Mijares Sandino Nartea Photographers

Eldie Arubang Mark Alvin Mangune Web Masters

Atty. Sonny E. Pulgar Legal Counsel

Editorial and Marketing Office at: 100 Perea Street, Sunrise Bldg. Legazpi Village, Makati City Philippines 1229 Telephone No.: (632) 828 3333 Fax No.: (632) 840 3292 Mobile: +63 919-8504468 Email: Real Estate World is published quarterly by Media Central, Inc. Opinions expressed in its pages are solely those of the writers and are not necessarily endorsed by Media Central, Inc. We welcome unsolicited manuscripts and photographs. We prefer to receive soft copies, by email. If you send these by post, kindly accompany these with a self-addressed stamped envelope if they are to be returned. While every reasonable care will be taken by the editors, no responsibility is assumed for the said materials. Copyright © 2008 Media Central, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Other Publications by Media Central Inc.:

Publisher’s Note

Opportunities IT HAS NEVER BEEN EASY FOR THE FILIPINO entrepreneur who is always in and out of crises. Just in the past three years alone, we experienced natural and economic disasters that came one after the other and challenged the very existence of the smallest to the biggest companies. But we have survived in the past, and we will survive this global shakeout as well. I see hope in the small steps that are pushing us forward. Government statistics show improvements in our economic indicators. Further, social safety nets are in place to assist the marginalized sectors in the country. Food-in-school programs, microfinance, scholarships and college loans, income tax exemption for minimum wage earners, and supplemental calamity funds are some social protection programs that allow the poor to cope. Comprising about half our population, an improved spending capacity from the poor will matter in big terms. Thankfully, our modern-day heroes, the Oversees Filipino Workers (OFWs), continue to bring in dollars to help finance the economy. These are silver linings that should inspire us to carry on. For those of us in real estate, a strong and genuine local demand that was noted by Credit Suisse Group remains a boon in all segments. In the mid-range market, demand is spurred by strong remittances from OFWs. Even the luxury market continues to grow. Growth is further influenced by local property prices that are three to four times cheaper than those in other Asian cities. Such growth in turn creates a virtuous circle: investment in new infrastructure and tourist-related facilities that enhance the country’s offering to new markets and generates increased visitor spending. CB Richard Ellis recently declared the country as a popular Southeast Asian real estate hub due to the increasing tourist arrivals and the thriving business process outsourcing and health and wellness industries. So, yes, while there may be trouble signs, we try to focus on the opportunities. Like many of my fellow Pinoy entrepreneurs who continue to brave every crisis, I chose to roll up my realtor’s sleeves, even continued to invest in publishing. After all, it was courage and vision that inspired me to become a real estate entrepreneur with a growing Makati-based business. As I have always told myself: no guts, no glory. For this reason, I am likewise proud to introduce the newest publication of MediaCentral Incorporated, the publishing arm of our growing real estate business. We seek to capture an avid readership among real estate professionals, companies and associations, international realtors, developers, builders, resort owners, property investors, bankers, financiers, mortgage companies, architects, designers, appraisers, REITS, insurance companies, property consultants, construction companies, information technologists, BPOs, government officials, travel agencies, hoteliers, retirees and investors. Name them and we can serve them. It is for all of you that we dedicate this magazine.

Daniel R. Dela Cruz 8 | REAL ESTATE WORLD



contents 100 8 12 16 20 22 24 26 32 37 46 40 44 47 50 52 54 56

Publisher’s Note: No guts, no glory


Editor’s Note: Of new and beautiful beginnings STD formula earns multi-millions and counting CREBA Young gets started for industry leadership Rotating Tower: The World’s First in Dubai The Rebirth of the Sun Grand Living at the 1322 Golden Empire House of Gold, Heart of Gold Successful recreation niche boosts real estate ventures Master of Minimalism Show of Force Real estate sales team on a bull market gets upbeat Real estate heads towards new highs CREBA hopes Aquino reforms to help sustain industry growth Luxurious Minimalism Deserts in her memoirs Woman power personified

58 60 66 70 75 76 78 80 90 94 96 100 104 105 110 112 118


The REIT Act: Real estate investments made easier Global City for the Global Workforce Rediscovering Metro Manila Maserati Launch Basa pushes for more pro-poor developments 3-day special property sale at PREF 2010 Over 1 million houses for the poor among GMA legacy Professionalizing the industry towards client protection Certainly Habitable Art collaboration brightens Makati’s Pedestrian underpass A good fusion of food and culture at Spiral Restaurant Good and Bad: the stakeholders’ views on the RESA Law 10 Ways for International Brokers to Survive the Meltdown Dubai: City of Architectural Marvels Sta. Elena: A dream come true Her Dad’s Daughter, and Leveraging It Color Therapy for your Home




Great Expectations

columns 30










116 102

Trouble in the family estate

Foreigners Purchasing Real Estate in the Philippines Momentum Gained, Better Days Ahead RP: A wise investment haven Counting Hidden Costs... and Hidden Opportunities

Editor’s Note

Of new and beautiful beginnings I FEEL LIKE GIVING BIRTH TO MY FIRST child all over again on two counts. First, we are launching this Real Estate World magazine as the world adjusts to possible economic and trade changes as a result of the economic crisis. The changes we view as opportunities to start afresh and pick up from the lessons learned in the process. Fortunately for the industry, it was not as difficult as the 1997 Asian crisis experience where many real estate firms folded up or rightsized their operations. In fact, from the interviews featured in this issue, a general sense of optimism prevails. One can conclude that the industry at least has moved on from this global financial fiasco to hopefully, a sustainable recovery. A second reason comes with a larger impact. Apparently, an Aquino presidency is mainly the cause of this renewed hope felt not only in the industry but even by stakeholders outside of it. Accounting for over 40% of the total votes, the Aquino victory is obviously a mandate from a people that embraced President Aquino’s agenda of good governance. One industry leader termed President Aquino’s win as “destiny” that all Filipinos ought to support, whether or not they voted for him. And so despite only a little over a month’s preparation (a record I should say, considering our magazine coverage), we take pride in seeing this maiden issue to print. It stands out as the only reference-cum-lifestyle quarterly magazine for the industry. It comes with a mix of analyses and light pieces that are sure to be useful, relevant and entertaining as well. You will also get the first taste of two series of profiles where insightful lessons are shared. Enjoy the feature about strange buildings courtesy of a friendly website owner. Get investment tips and learn from – maybe even challenge - the experts. Be updated of a couple of regulatory policies that are supposed to be a boon for the industry. But we missed gathering all the industry leaders to a group photo, a huge treat indeed that we intend to pursue in the next quarter. We also thank all our partners in this first offering. They were likewise “rushed” –but thankfully obliged with pleasure - to make it to our big-time launch. Let us know how we can improve as we work again together for the coming issues. For at Real Estate World magazine, we don’t stop at giving information; we aim to achieve productive results for you.


How to Buy Real Estate (Almost) WorryFree THE INSIDER: RENNE ISIDRO

Global Pinoy, you can help our country survive this shakeup

Ma. Flordeliza Cusi-Leong

One of Cebu’s pride Located in Marigondon, Mactan Island off the coast of Cebu City, Plantation Bay Resort and Spa is a tropical lagoon resort set in 11.4 hectares of private grounds with lush tropical gardens, palm trees and waterfalls. It is built in a style of a plantation village that showcases the finest Filipino craftsmanship. “Plantation Bay Resort and Spa is a unique world-class resort conceived, financed, designed, engineered, built and furnished by Filipinos. It showcases the best of what the Philippines has to offer. It is something which we can all be proud of,” says Stephanie Grace A. Trocio, Sales Manager Facilities and services include:

2.3 hectares of saltwater lagoons 256 spacious guest rooms including 20 suites and 3 Spa Indulgence Rooms Mogambo Falls --- a man-made saltwater waterfalls and giant slides 3 freshwater pools Mogambo Springs, The Spa at Plantation Bay 4 restaurants, swim-up bars, beach bar Function areas (indoor and outdoor) for conferences and celebrations Extensive choice of aqua sports including water ski, jetskis, parasailing, Hobie cats, kayaks, paddle boats, inter-island cruises, scuba diving, etc.) Other recreational activities including tennis, in-door firing range, archery, wall climbing, fishing and fishfeeding Children’s center and playground Gym and gameroom Beauty salon Tabaquera Jamaica Market souvenir shop The Gallery for accessories

Services include but are not limited to:

Scheduled airport transfers, private transportation and metered taxis Baby sitting service Butler service 24-hour medical assistance Foreign exchange Laundry and dry cleaning service Language translation service Business Center service VIP Express Package Personal Assistant Package Price ranges for day tour and overnight accommodation range from US$150++ to $700++ during non-peak seasons, and $200++ to $238++ during peak seasons. Daytrip package is at P2,000 (about $43) net per person. Special discounted rate of P1,500 (about $32) net per person applies for a group of 20 or more. Rates include set lunch and a drink. - LCL

Reynaldo Alejo Carpio, Ph. D. President – Grand Monaco Estate Developers, Inc. 16 | REAL ESTATE WORLD

CEO Series:

Reynaldo Alejo Carpio, Ph. D. STD formula earns multi-millions... and counting


t is better said in Filipino: sipag, tiyaga at diskarte or STD. Thus did Reynaldo Alejo Carpio explains how he managed to turn around the crises and challenges he was faced since he was a teenager. “The diskarte is what makes the difference. Diskarte is all about common sense. It also means working smart, compared to working hard. It means being bold and agressive. It means being confident. It means doing the right thing all the time,” he explains. Focused on improving his and his family’s lot, Carpio has single-mindedly pursued the path, initially towards survival, and eventually, towards a multimillion-peso real estate business. He is proud of what he has accomplished and is not tired of sharing his experiences for others to learn from as well. 17 | REAL ESTATE WORLD

Odd jobs Born the fifth child among the nine children of a rice farmer and a market vendor, Carpio has what one could say a childhood bereft of material things and of the trappings of a “good” life. But Carpio believes these circumstances were blessings because he learned to be more resourceful. Asleep by 8 p.m., and up by the very unholy hour of 3 a.m., Carpio would be in the town market by 5:30 a.m. In spite of this, he was often exempted from final and midterm exams, and would even check the papers of his classmates; which made him a natural magnet for the class muse he had a crush on. Carpio had a series of what others may consider very “demeaning” jobs: a taga-takal or repacker of sugar and cooking oil back when he was in grade school and high school in Tuguegarao, Cagayan; a mechanic, a gasoline boy, and a messenger-cumclerk in his aunt’s law office in Metro Manila. His first informal job as a taga-takal or repacker taught him an important lesson: that one could earn another peso from an investment of a peso. Later in life, his stint as a gasoline boy in Edsa corner Boni Avenue, fronting Camp Aguinaldo while going to college in the University of the Philippines (UP) and the Technological Institute of the Philippines (TIP), would teach him the tricks of the trade enough to bag him construction contracts with multinational oil companies. Even his job as a messenger and clerk in a law office – where he got impressed with and photocopied many legal documents and attended countless court hearings - taught him how to draft pleadings, affidavits, demand letters and lease contracts which one day proved to be useful to him in the real estate field where he is an important player. It was only after receiving his professional fee as contractor of his first project did he realize that all these odd jobs were meant to prepare him to be a highly successful entrepreneur. But even after graduating from the UP with a degree in Upgraded Geodetic Engineering and from TIP with a degree in Civil Engineering, Carpio found it difficult to get a job. Employers wanted to hire someone “with experience”, particularly five years experience in one job he was eyeing. Exasperated, Carpio made an offer to his potential employer to allow him to work for his company with just an allowance and no salary until after six months, just to prove that he could do the job even without the required experience. The CEO of this construction firm was impressed with such an attitide and hired him. After


only two months, Carpio was not only given his just compensation, but was also absorbed as a regular employee. Apparently, his double Engineering degree was a plus factor.

Continuing education and improvement Not one to fold his hands and just sit back and relax whenever on vacation, Carpio used his employee leaves to give him time to take short courses at the University of the Philippines or Ateneo de Manila University to enhance and sharpen his managerial skills. Once he returned to the office after a vacation, he explained to his boss what he did during his short break. Since the company would benefit from such courses, could it reimburse him for the tuition? Inspired by what he learned from these short courses, Carpio eventually took up Masters in Business Administration (MBA) at the University of the East (UE) and his Philosophy Degree (PhD) in Management at the International Academy of Management and Economics (IAME). He is also set to take a two-year masteral level advance management development program at Harvard University in the U.S. “Once you stop learning, you stop growing,” he says. So convinced is Carpio about the importance of higher degrees, that four senior members of his

managerial team have already finished their MBAs at company expense. Six more are graduating from a continuing educational enhancement course on Real Estate Development at the De La Salle-College of St. Benilde this month, while four others are taking a continuing manager’s course at UP. “When you take up MBA, you get to meet future leaders; PhDs, you meet owners of companies, CEOs, top executives, leaders...” he says.

Birth of Grand Monaco The entrepreneur in him readily spots opportunities when these are presented. Once, while on the site of a project as Engineer where he earns P4,000 a month, an impressed passer-by gave Carpio a contract to build his house. With no money but a string of construction material suppliers as “assets”, he managed to complete the house in six months as agreed and earn his first half a million peso. Inspired by this initial success, he resigned from his job to become a full-time contractor of mass housing projects where he was earning some P120,000 a month. It was a couple of years after when he realized that what he earned in 12 years as a contractor, he would earn in as little as two years as a real estate developer. Today, he is owner and President of Grand Monaco Estate Developers, Inc., the name inspired by a trip to Monaco and Monte Carlo.

“Once you stop learning, you stop growing.”

His vision for the company? To create quality and affordable homes for people in the metropolis and help them live better lives. Carpio must be a workaholic to be spending 16 hours of his day in his office, where he always keeps his door open to employees who need counsel or help. But it was not all rosy. When the Asian financial crisis hit in 1997, he was left with practically no money but a lot of hard assets, most of which were payments by partners and clients whose businesses closed shop. With no money to pay for salaries, he downsized the company to its current 42 regular employees and about 300 to 400 in the sales force. The challenge then is to keep cash flowing in to sustain operations. Using his diskarte mastered through the years, Carpio made use of the construction materials paid to him by clients to finish his units that were under construction. He started out with just three housing units which todate has grown to about 1,600 units in 12 locations including Quezon City, Marikina, Antipolo, Pasig, Paranaque and Taguig. The properties – which he made sure are in flood-free locations – cater to the middle-income sector, costing anywhere from P2 million pesos to P4.5 million, requiring only 20% down payment without interest and payable in two years. The rest of the amount can be settled via bank financing. As of press time, units in six out of the 14 loca-

tions had been completed, with all the units already sold out. Around 70% of his market are OFWs. “Owning a house used to be an impossible dream,” he said. “But with the easy financing schemes available these days, more and more Filipinos have the chance to give his family a decent house”. His company is also building a Mediterraneanstyle 150-room three star hotel called Grand Monaco Hotel and Resort for conventions, conferences, and even weddings, in Ortigas Avenue Extension at the very strategic Tikling in Taytay, Rizal. Noteworthy is the fact that satisfied customers make “repeat orders.” Happy about their first purchase of a unit, they come back for a second, a third, even a fourth unit, but this time for investment purposes. “Success in this busines comes from the repeat orders, not the first one,” he notes. “And repeat orders happen only if you give clients quality houses payable at affordable terms. It is also important to spread goodwill which we generate from being honest and fair in our dealings.” The real estate developer targets at least P600 million in sales this year, double the 2009 sales. Initial reports from his sales team up to the end of May show that the monthly target even exceeds expectations, prompting him to express confi-

dence that the annual target is within reach. Carpio, however, is not all work. He enjoys golf, singing and ballroom dancing. At least once every quarter, he travels to keep track and learn new designs and pick up concepts which he could apply to improve his “products.” He also finds time to serve the real estate industry, having been the National President of the Association of Geodetic Engineers of the Philippines in 2003 to 2004 and National President of the National Real Estate Assocation (NREA) in 2000. He became the International President of FIABCI, a Paris-based international real estate federation that operates in 48 countries all over the world. In October this year, he will be the convention chair of the Chamber of Real Estate Brokers Association (CREBA) which he says is “going international” via an exhibit and business matching in Macau. He is also very active in civic activities, especially with Rotary Club, doing dental and medical missions, giving away relief goods, and adopting schools and donating books to these schools. These days, Carpio no longer finds the need to hide his hands which used to be stained black by oil grease and grime from his work as a mechanic in a vulcanizing shop. It is amazing how the hitherto grime-stained hands – just like the proverbial Midas – has figuratively turned everything they touch into gold. - Susan Claire Agbayani/LCL



CREBA Young members before signing their articles of incorporation

gets started for industry leadership IF YOU ARE 35 YEARS OLD or be-

low, have leadership and professional interests in the real estate industry, then this could well be a good training ground for you.

CREBA Young officers


The CREBA Young Members’ Council (CYMC), a newly-formed second-generation affiliate of the Chamber of Real Estate and Builders Association (CREBA), signed its articles of incorporation in June with high hopes that it can fulfil its vision of laying down the groundwork for future industry leaders and practitioners.

Chairman Philip E. Lim said that youth issues are oftentimes “secondary or neglected” by their senior colleagues, thus the need for a group to help push their advocacies. “Issues such as environment, technology, how to start a business are seemingly being taken for granted by the older practitioners,” he notes. “But they have to realize that these have medium to long-term implications that are critical as companies and the industry strive for sustainability.” Another issue that CYMC is concerned about covers getting started in the industry. Its mentoring and training programs hope to address this gap. “The next batch of practitioners will hopefully find it

less difficult to cope with the dynamic challenges in our field because of the preparations we are doing for them,” says Lim. Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of family-owned company TKRL Realty Development, Lim adds that current and future CYMC members need not be COOs (child of the owner). Their interest in the industry is one important criterion for them to qualify, he said. Conirose L. Dulalia, President, adds that the current Council priority is to expand its membership. She is hopeful that before the one-year term of the Board expires, the current 50 members would have grown to 100. Other CYMC objectives are increased public awareness on real estate issues, closer government and industry cooperation and enhanced membership development. Dulalia is also no stranger to real estate, as she multi-tasks for Don Tino Realty and Development Corporation, doing marketing,

Philip E. Lim purchasing and strategic partnership for the family-owned firm. Her father, Florentino Dulalia, heads the company and is also the President of CREBA. She is likewise taking her Masteral studies at the Ateneo University after completing the six-module diploma course on Real

Conirose L. Dulalia Estate Management from the College of Saint Benilde. Such hectic demand in her schedule makes her a “reluctant” President. “I was finally convinced to accept the role after realizing that we are providing a valueadded service especially for our younger colleagues in the industry,” she notes. - LCL



The world's first in Dubai Rotating Tower:

AS TOWERS ALL OVER THE GLOBE TOP ONE ANOTHER in a bid to be the world’s tallest

building, Italian architect David Fisher has designed a structure to beat all structures. The Rotating Tower, the first “building in motion” is expected to move from design to reality in less than two years. The design, crafted in collaboration with British firm Dynamic Architecture Group, will premiere in two locations: Moscow and Dubai, each chosen for very different reasons. Dubai was Fisher’s first choice for the tower, since it is “a city of the future.” Moscow, in turn, had approached Fisher for the design, and he accepted the Russians’ proposal, knowing that they would be “fast at putting things together”. There, the spinning floors of the tower, hung like rings around an immobile cement core, would offer residents a constantly changing view of the Persian Gulf and the city’s futuristic skyline. A few penthouse villas would spin on command using a voice-activated computer. The motion of the rest of the building would be choreographed in patterns that could be altered over time. Voice recognition technology will interpret such instructions such as “left” or “right” in English, Arabic or Italian, but other languages could be programmed into the technology for other buildings. Dubai’s building will reach 80 floors: The top 10 floors will be used for luxury ‘Villa’- style apartments. Below this would 35 floors of accommodation, then 15 floors of an extravagant hotel. The


The rotating tower is eco-friendly too, as it is self-powered

lowest 20 floors will be used as retail space. What’s more, the Rotating Tower design will use photovoltaic cells and wind turbine technology to collect enough energy to power itself. The cells, placed on the top surface of each floor, will be 15 percent open to the sun’s rays on all 80 floors for full days, helping to power the building. Giant wind turbines installed between every floor will generate enough electricity to power the entire building, and lifts will allow penthouse residents to park their cars right at their apartments. A second version of the tower, to be built in Moscow, would have a retractable helicopter pad. Both structures, at over 1,300 feet, would be taller than the Empire State Building. Even the method of construction would be unorthodox. The towers will also be the first skyscrapers to be entirely constructed from prefabricated parts put together in a factory in Southern Italy. Moscow and Dubai’s towers begun construction in Italy where the bathrooms, the most complicated part of the design according to Fisher, were created. And just where does Fisher want to take the concept next? New York, is his chirpy answer. ReW



The Rebirth of the Sun SUNTRUST PROPERTIES, INC., (formerly Empire East Properties, Inc.), the low-cost housing arm of property giant Megaworld Corporation, marked its first decade in 2007 with a “bang”. It is today growing stronger to keep pace with the country’s low-cost housing leaders, providing affordable yet quality homes in master planned communities.

“labor-only” to “straight” contracts, enabling the company to effectively control construction costs, save on warehousing costs and eliminate problems related to materials handling and pilferage.

of the group’s great leader, Andrew L. Tan. Yet, Suntrust was for years ‘engulfed in a nebular cloud of ebbing consumer confidence and lots of uncertainties, almost making it an irrelevant part of the whole organization. Thus, the need for a new management to boost its failing health with renewed energy. And so Atty. Harrison M. Paltongan was appointed by the Megaworld Chairman Andrew L. Tan to assume the reins of Suntrust. Immediately, Paltongan gathered a strong team of officers (Executive Committee), co-led by the SVP for Finance and Operations, Deanna Jean A. Claveria. First on the agenda for Suntrust’s new management was to restore the company’s market credibility. This it did by adopting various measures, among these were:

Raising the bar. Strict standards were implemented on construction quality and timetable. Suntrust impressed upon its partnercontractors the rule that “timely delivery and quality workmanship of units could never be compromised.” Erring contractors were blacklisted, while excellent performers were honored during the company’s “Community Builders’ Awards” and given incentives.

Among its projects are Suntrust Adriatico Gardens and UN Gardens in Manila; Regal Homes in Imus, Cavite; Sunrise Hills and Cybergreens in Dasmariñas, Cavite; Governor’s Hills and The Gentri Heights in General Trias, Cavite; and Sta. Rosa Heights in Silang, Cavite. Suntrust’s positive turnaround started in 2007 when its new management team took over to revolutionize its way of doing business. As a result, it more than doubled its usual performance, just recently breaching past achievements with a PhP250 mln monthly sales, en route to its continuous upward surge. At the same time, it got recognized by prestigious institutions, such as the Chamber of Real Estate Builders Associations, Inc., which conferred upon it the “2007 Developer of the Year for Economic Housing” award. Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas also chose it from among the top 7,000 corporations as the “2008 Most Outstanding Respondent for Large Firms” in the Bank’s Business Expectation Surveys, a distinction formerly garnered by other eminent companies such as the Philippine National Bank, Dole, the Bank of the Philippine Islands, Kawasaki Steel, Sony and Intel. THE WINDS OF CHANGE. Under the Megaworld umbrella, each company must survive and prosper under its own management guided only by the steadfast vision


Ensuring financial resources. The new Suntrust management crafted and implemented a comprehensive project financing plan to bridge-finance the company’s construction needs and sustain its long-term viability. This it did in partnership with its parent company and with various banks. Changing designs and technology. Product designs were changed to suit the preferences and needs of buyers, based on mass consultations with the sales force and front line departments. The new management’s guiding rule was to “build the buyer’s dreams” rather than to impose their own. Construction technology was also shifted from the expensive and difficult-to-maintain M2 Panel system to the conventional CHB building system. Savings were then used to add functional house features such as verandas, concrete and tiled carport, high head rooms, etc. Suntrust was able to increase the number of qualified contractors and reduce its construction period. It also shifted its contract system from

Boosting the sales force. This entailed revitalizing both the sales force and the selling position. “To sell” became the battle cry of all Suntrust employees, not just of its sales agents. Suntrust revamped its sales force, weeding out those who did not support the call for professionalism. At the same time, it drew out a performance-based compensation package superior in the industry. Opening communication lines. The officers adopted an “open-door policy” and made themselves “on-call 24/7”. This not only ensured quick decision-making on various concerns, but also motivated their subordinates who now feel that their management support is just a text or call away. Inter-departmental barriers and protocols were torn down and replaced with direct communications among people at all levels, subject to some discretion parameters set by management. Employees and sales agents were encouraged to actively contribute their ideas relevant to the company’s rebuilding process. The overall effect was to make everyone feel part of a team driven towards a single direction. Client feedback mechanisms were also put in place. As a result, Suntrust offers house designs based on what the buyers need—such as more functional floor layouts, and superior yet affordable finishes.


Grand Living

at The 1322 Golden Empire


ON THEIR FIFTH ANNIVERSARY, Jude Salazar (not his real name), an up-and-coming IT manager in one of Makati’s fastest-growing BPOs, went out of his way to pamper his wife.

He treated her to a Thai massage in a poolside cabana at their condominium facing the Manila Bay. He bought a bottle of Malbec red wine, which they enjoyed together while relaxing in their own private whirlpool bath in their master bedroom, with the famous Manila Bay sunset as backdrop. The tub was carefully rimmed with her favorite chocolate walnut candles. Then he prepared a gourmet dinner of organic grilled chicken, which he laid out on tables by the pool. He had reserved the poolside especially for their anniversary dinner. After dinner, lavender-scented candles led the way from the poolside to their unit, up into their bedroom. The bed was strewn with long-stemmed roses in her favorite yellow. All this was arranged by the concierge staff of the 1322 Golden Empire Tower, one among the country’s growing number of condominium developments that, following the trend in Western countries, aim to combine the convenience of home—with the grand luxury of a hotel. Among condo developers, from the major players to the smaller ones—all with developments under construction and now pre-selling, in Ortigas, Makati, The Fort, the Bay Area in Manila, or other places in the city—the amenities race is on. Where once amenities involved the pool, the gym, and the security system, stiffer competition in a condo market


quickly approaching its peak is pushing developers to come out with a range of out-of-the-box amenities. How about housekeeping services? Pet sitting? Tai chi spots? A wine cellar? IN TODAY’S highly competitive condo development market, the main differentiators are: space, location and pricing. Amenities make up the final one. And for future dwellers, this race to provide the best amenities is a boon, opening up a whole new world of condominium living—a world where grandeur and luxury become everyday experiences. Thus, the fitness spa, concierge desk and even the infinity pool, in the past only found in upscale developments, are now run-of-the-mill amenities. So too are commercial spaces, most appreciated by young Tsinoy families eager to start-up their own homebased businesses, as well as security features like CCTV cameras and other hi-tech perimeter security systems. Even wi-fi zones and internet and cable-ready units are things most condo dwellers expect from even mid-range developments today. Of course in this crisis-prone country, some basic building facilities are must-haves in all condominium developments: • Automatic fire sprinkler system for all units • Security command center for 24-hour monitoring of all building facilities • Centralized intercom system • Overhead water tank and underground cistern for ample water supply • Standby power generator for selected common areas • Building administration office

TODAY the name of the game is creating homes that grant owners true luxury-at-their fingertips: The wine cellar for aficionados, the pet walk and care center for poodle-owners, the in-house movie theaters with blow-you-away sound, and the party deck. “Pinoy condo buyers are just looking for the place that gives them the best bang for their buck,” note analysts of the condo developments. Jane Serapio and her friend Nina Ongkiko (not their real names)—both children of upper middle class, land-owning families in the Visayas, used to live in an old rented house along Singalong, so that they could be close to their demanding, 24-hour, on-the-job training as interns at the Philippine General Hospital—and to the University of the Philippines Manila campus, where they attended med school. Now they’ve chosen to move into a condominium unit at the 1322 Golden Empire, located conveniently along the bay area, which is an FX ride away from their school. To make ends meet, the two girls got the rest of their college gang to stay with them, splitting up the considerable monthly fees. But the perks far outweigh the expense. “It feels like you’re always on vacation,” Jane enthuses about her new home. “I just love being part of the Bohemian attractions of Malate,” Nina adds “yet being able to catch up with school and work, too.” INDEED, Moldex Realty acknowledges that the lure of amenities has given them the edge, where selling is concerned. “The highest inflation in 13 years has made people very conscious about their spending,” notes Moldex Realty’s Marketing Manager Maila


Fermil. “Today people often choose to live close to where they work. But at the same time, they also want to feel like they’re buying into luxury. That’s what we provide: value for money,” he says. For sure, where luxury is concerned, few developments can beat the 1322 Golden Empire. At PhP14.1m to PhP50m, it is priced a notch above the other developments, but its amenities make it well worth the price.

Location is a key factor NOTES Moldex Realty Chairman Jacinto Uy: “We were one of the first developers to notice the potentials of developing a seafront condominium, located close to the scenic Roxas Boulevard, only a stone’s throw away from the international airport—and blessed with stunning views of the world-famous Manila Bay sunset.” Thus in 1999, Uy began building 1322 long

before Roxas Boulevard was recognized as Asia’s “Sunset Strip”. The strip is lined with specialty restaurants, national parks and museums, theatres, entertainment districts, and hotels. Since then, many other developers have followed suit. Today, 1322 is also found close to the iconic SM Mall of Asia and the Cultural Center of the Philippines, the Folk Arts Theatre, the Philippine Plaza Hotel, the Philippine World Trade Center, the Philippine International Convention Center, and Philcite.  And where amenities are concerned, 1322 is truly a Golden Empire. Guests and residents entering 1322 are greeted by water features along the driveway and at the main entrance plaza, and a truly grand lobby. Each unit is designed larger, so residents really feel like they are living in grand homes. Each also features a dirty kitchen, two toilets at least, and a bathtub with whirlpool in all masters’ bathrooms, separate guest powder rooms, and maids quarters with toilet and bathroom. 1322 also boasts of landscaped gardens, an adult lap pool and kiddie pool, a Jacuzzi, a pool side party area with bar. Other amenities include a physical fitness center, sauna and massage rooms, Sesame Street-inspired children’s playroom, spacious lounge and function area, function rooms and even putting green and gazebos. Thus, as today’s condominium developers race to outdo each other by coming up with truly ingenious amenities, the 1322 The Golden Empire Tower remains truly a grand choice. REW



Trouble in the family estate ATTY. MAY ANN ROSALES

LEAVING A CRISIS of an estate by a deceased loved one is sure to be almost as distressing as the very experience of losing the loved one concerned. Brother is pitted against brother in the quest for a greater share in the wealth, or even as trivial as the claim of the loved one’s wardrobe. This is highlighted in instances where the deceased left no will, as is usually the case for middle-class Filipinos. For instance, our Supreme Court was once confronted with this scenario: George previously lived with a woman with whom he had several children, including Regine and Zeny. He later married, and had a daughter Ivy. His wife passed away and he followed soon after. The only properties George owned prior to his death were two parcels of land in Bulacan. Before he died, George told Ivy that the certificates of title were with her half-sisters Regine and Zeny. But when Ivy asked them about it, they said that George sold the land to them. Could Ivy still go after the properties to obtain her inheritance?* Our Civil Code provides for rules to address problems in the settlement of a deceased’s estate in the absence of a will (or if the will is void, does not institute an heir, or the heir instituted is incapable of succeeding), which rules are based on the presumed will of the deceased. The noted Civil Code commentator Jose Maria Manresa succinctly explained that the presumed will of the deceased “first descends, then ascends, and finally, spreads sideways.” Thus, the order of preference of who succeeds to a deceased’s estate, in the absence of a will, depends on the identity of his surviving family members. In the scenario above, George has at least three surviving children who stand to inherit his properties. Unfortunately, his properties are

Estate planning involves the setting up of foundations, trusts, or corporations and transferring one’s assets therein, as well as transferring assets to one’s children or family members through donations or sales while one is still living.

in the possession of two of his illegitimate children, leaving his legitimate child with none. The Supreme Court held that Ivy, Regine and Zeny must share in the two parcels of land left by George where Ivy’s share, by law, is half of the properties, while Regine and Zeny will have to share the remaining half. Even if George allegedly already sold the properties to his illegitimate daughters, Ivy is still entitled to half of those properties as his legitime or “forced” share in her father’s estate from which he cannot disinherit her without sufficient legal cause. Preparing a will before passing on makes things easier, as the decedent would have made clear his intentions as to who would inherit his properties, subject to the rules on legitime, and this is the more logical course of action for most affluent Filipinos. Yet even a well-crafted will does not solve all estate settlement problems. A will is usually contested by the successors for various reasons, i.e. the deceased did not fully understand the provisions of the will; deceased was insane when the will was made; it was not properly witnessed; or the deceased’s signature in the will was forged, among others. Faced with all these problems that may haunt someone even beyond this life, more Filipinos are slowly getting into the practice of estate planning to do away with estate settlement talks after death. Estate planning involves the setting up of foundations, trusts, or corporations and transferring one’s assets therein, as well as transferring assets to one’s children or family members through donations or sales while one is still living. Although estate planning in the Philippines is largely resorted to in order to do away with inheritance taxes, a good estate plan can in fact cultivate family harmony and would do away with shouting matches and court dramas on who gets what. This is an optimal result because in the end, what really matters is being able to mourn the passing of a loved one without having to bicker about a piece in the family pie. * See the Supreme Court case of Francisco v. Alfonso, G.R. No. 138774, March 8, 2001.



House of Gold,

Heart Gold of


NTERING JOEL CRUZ’S grand condominium, one could get temporarily disoriented and overwhelmed. But even amidst the extremely ornate motif typical in royal palaces, this home to a local perfumery entrepreneur exudes an aura of peace and quiet that tempers the extreme luxury of the place.


Joel Cruz: A house inspired by the Burj Al Arab Hotel in Dubai

The condo was featured in the two biggest television networks in the country. It stirred quite an interest among many people who reportedly created further traffic in the network’s online sites after the feature. Located in the Pearl of the Orient Building in front of the US Embassy along Roxas Boulevard, the condominium is inspired by contemporary Mediterranean-Victorian design, with the interior very rich in color and adorned with avant-garde furniture, colorful paintings each with its own spotlight, mirrored walls, extravagantly beautiful chandeliers, a deluxe piano and oriental rugs. A glass sliding door opens to the scent and warmth of the sea breeze outside and the breathtaking and panoramic view of the world-famous Manila Bay. In one corner of the house, a small pond with gold fish, fountain and fresh and artificial plants provide a natural charm for the house. His houses in Tagaytay and at Camp John Hay in Baguio also feature “nature corners and accents” that helps him de-stress. And matching the royal ambiance of the rest of the house, the dining table has been prepared with plates, silver and glasswares set in gold. What inspired the design and interior of the house? Cruz recalled that a few years back, he got the chance to visit the seven-star Burj Al Arab Hotel in Dubai which is overlooking the Souk Madinat Jumeirah river. The hotel rooms, with gold accents and furnishings, captivated him with all their splendor and beauty. He contemplated on booking himself in for a few days for the “royal experience”, but changed his mind upon learning that the room costs between P300,000 to P400,000 per day. While he can afford to pay, he entertained what to him was a better idea.




Replica of the Burj Al Arab Hotel

Many talents

Back in the Philippines, he started work on a newly-purchased condo, turning it into a replica of one of the rooms at Burj Al Arab Hotel. With the help of his half Italian-half Egyptian friend/designer, Dave Elserfy, he purchased materials from Italy and Egypt and finalized the details. Mid-way, he was near abandoning the project because it was turning out to be “very expensive and difficult”. But looking back, although he “spent a fortune on this investment”, he was pleased that he decided to finish it. He basks on the thought that he gets to experience luxury living in his own house that is “made of gold”. The house, which displays hues of gold and yellow gold, with furniture and furnishings also covered in gold leaf trimmings, also meets his main objective of providing a de-stressing effect on him. Cruz likewise sees himself investing in houses in Hong Kong and in the United States. He has yet to decide on the motif.

Other than his real estate investments, he is a very successful entrepreneur in the perfumery business. Catering to the C and D markets, his Aficionado and the Joel Cruz Signature lines of perfumes for men and women continue to expand, with operations now being done in three manufacturing plants and three warehouses. He smiled when asked about his plans to pursue his entertainment or singing career after winning the grand prize in a popular singing contest in television. “I am not really a singer. I joined the contest to get the P1 million for my charitable programs. Nahihiya na rin kasi ako na laging nanghihingi ng tulong sa mga kaibigan ko. I am just so thankful that God made me the winner,” he explained. He however plans to keep his TV hosting job for “Trip na Trip and Kabuhayang Swak na Swak” every Saturday and Sunday from 7:00 to 7:30 a.m. where he gets to share business tips and experi-

ences to other entrepreneurs. With a rapidly growing business, he feels he is making a major contribution to the economy. “One way to help our economy is to employ people. I have more than a thousand employees, with about 800 more coming from my franchisees. And because, I have stores nationwide, I pay taxes to every municipal government where my stores are located,” he said. “I share my blessings to charitable institutions and foundations, my form of corporate social responsibility. Most of all, I develop products that are affordable to many Filipinos. I believe not only in Filipino ingenuity but also in the saying “Tangkilikin ang sariling atin”. For a man with a vast fortune, he claims to have remained grounded, with his growing circle of friends as his biggest investment. He also attributes all his success to God. Indeed, the owner of the house of gold does fit in with his golden heart. – GTM



Atty. Alfonso G. Reyno III: the real estate industry is booming


T WAS THE FIRST HORSERACING CLUB in South East Asia, meant to provide recreation and entertainment for the social elite. The Manila Jockey Club (MJC) was founded by the Spanish Governor-General in 1867 to conduct horse races. Among its 100 socio fundadores were members of affluent families, some of which still dominate local business today: Ayala, Zobel, Tuason, Elizalde and Prieto, among others. From being a popular social club, MJC was formally incorporated as a business entity in 1937. It was acquired from the Prieto family by a group of investors led by Atty. Alfonso Reyno Jr. now the MJCI’s Chief Executive Officer and President.

From its original 16-hectare location in Santa Cruz, Manila, it was relocated to Carmona, Cavite which is about a 30-minute drive from Makati. The transfer enabled the company to expand into its 77-hectare property acquired from the Kuok Group and engage in the development and sales of residential complexes under joint venture arrangements. “My family was not really into horse racing,” explains Atty. Alfonso G. Reyno III, currently MJC’s EVP and Chief Operating Officer. “But our business activities with a group of Filipino and Malaysian real estate investors eventually led us to acquire MJCI.” Because the company’s principal business is constructing, operating and maintaining a racetrack, its real estate clients naturally included MJCI horse aficionados such as horse owners, jockeys, bettors and spectators who came to watch the races.

Successful recreation niche boosts real estate ventures

Joint venture with Ayala Land, Inc.

In line with MJCI’s vision to expand its business operations and enhance the value of its shareholders’ investments, the company entered into a joint venture with property giant, Ayala land Inc. (ALI). With ALI, MJCI was able to develop several portions of its property in Sta. Cruz, Manila into residential and commercial complexes, including Business Process Outsourcing centers. A BPO building, called Vertex One consisting of 14 stories, was completed and opened in December 2008. It is considered to be the largest BPO facility in Manila providing approximately 6,000 jobs for the city’s residents. MJCI operates two special economic and


tourism zones, one being the San Lazaro Tourism and Business Park in Sta. Cruz, and the other being the San Lazaro Leisure and Business Park (SLLBP) in Carmona, Cavite. Last February 2009, the entire Sta. Cruz property was declared as a PEZA- registered Tourism and Business Zone with IT components. MJCI also retained full ownership of 2.5 hectares in San Lazaro Manila, which it will develop into a lifestyle entertainment center that will cater to the growing population in Manila. In 2006, MJCI in a joint venture with ALI’s subsidiary, AVIDA Land Corporation , launched the AVIDA Towers San Lazaro comprising of five towers, with its units almost sold out. Another ALI subsidiary, Alveo Land Corporation launched the Celadon Residences and Celedon Park consisting of townhouses and condominiums catering to both middle and upper class markets. Not to be outdone are the company’s projects in the SLLBP in Cavite. One such project is the Canyon Ranch, a community spread over 17


hectares of pristine land that offers spectacular views of Laguna de bay, Antipolo, Mount Makiling and the world-class Manila Jockey Club twinoval track. Canyon ranch is the only first-class, private residential community in the country that is complimented with exceptional terrain, location and climate. It is on the foothills of Carmona, Cavite and its elevation affords free flow of fresh and cool air into the community. The unique homes at Canyon Ranch combine the natural charm of country life with modern, contemporary living. Another 20 hectares of land in San Lazaro Carmona will be developed into more residential dwellings like townhouses and high-rise condominiums.

Issues to address

Atty. Reyno believes that there is no crisis in the country’s real estate sector and that the industry is booming, unlike the US and European housing markets that are still unstable. The US housing sector particularly continues to experience falling prices even on prime properties.

He, however, points out major issues that have to be resolved in the local real estate industry: credibility, integrity, speculation, lending rates and financing schemes. According to him, “The failure of other developers to deliver their commitment affects the credibility of the other realty companies.” Another issue he expounded on is the issue on speculation. “Some people buy units but don’t live in them,” he notes. “This may create the impression that these units do not live up to expectations and give rise to excessive supply within a fairly quick period.” Meanwhile, the policy environment on lending rates and financing schemes should be such that we avoid the financial crunch such as the one triggered by the sub-prime crisis in the US. It is important to sustain the real estate business, according to him, because it creates a multiplier effect. “It provides business to local manufacturers. Construction sites that require engineering professionals (electrical, mechanical, construction, etc), provide employment to laborers, while providing housing for families” he says. In MJCI’s case, it also generates tourism revenues from the hotels, condominiums, recreational areas and horse racing which attract both local and foreign clientele. In these ways, the company contributes to the strengthening of the national economy, he adds. When asked about his expectations from the incoming administration, Atty. Reyno is optimistic. “There is an atmosphere of hope which translates to a positive attitude towards the Philippines as a whole,” he says. “There is a new and upbeat mood in the business and investment community. If the Aquino administration lives up to its programs and promises, then it can influence a healthy, profitable business climate. We acknowledge that we have a new Presidsent who possesses charisma and commands trust. He should capitalize on the goodwill that he has earned for the country so we can attain growth and stability.” - GTM


show of Real estate sales team on a bull run as market gets upbeat 40 | REAL ESTATE WORLD


uoyed by renewed consumer and business confidence from the recent elections and signals of a global economic recovery, the real estate industry’s marketing and sales leaders expressed hopes that the industry is in for even better days ahead. The challenge of outdoing their competitors in the number and quality of their projects is positively contributing further to the variety of client privileges, building facilities and amenities and pricing and payment terms to the benefit of end users and the economy. In the following interviews, four major players (in company alphabetical order) agreed to share with us their thoughts on a number of topics. These include measures on how the Aquino administration can sustain current gains, including suggested priorities; issues that relate to the Real Estate Service Act; and major projects and prospects inspired by hefty first quarter returns that are projected to be sustained this year.


Alejandro S. Mañalac, Vice President for sales at Eton Properties Sales Corporation Ramon H. Aldaba, Senior Vice President of Fedsales Marketing, Inc. and Deputy GM of Omniorient Marketing Network, Inc.

Signs of recovery and growth Anchor Land Holdings, Inc. (ALHI) is very optimistic that the new administration will focus on stabilizing the economy to sustain current investor confidence which can translate to industry gains. To get there, there should initially be orderly transition of power. Elizabeth Ventura-Sison, Assistant Vice President for Sales and Marketing, says that already, the industry is showing healthy signs of recovery from the global financial crisis. It is in fact booming, she quickly qualifies, attributing this to investors’ attitude towards a crisis where they believe that the best and safest investment is in real estate. ALHI is a developer of luxury condominiums in Manila, with focus on the development of highend condominium projects in Manila particularly for the Chinese-Filipino community. In 2008, the company was awarded by Forbes Asia as one of the “Best Under-a- Billion” companies in the region. It was one of the 200 companies in Asia to be given such an award and is one of the few Filipino companies that are in the list of its elite awardees. “The local industry has plenty of room to grow, what with the acute housing shortage. The current trend is leaning towards more affordable condos and residential units,” Sison adds. Taking advantage of this trend, ALHI is embarking on a more aggressive marketing campaign. It is launching several projects that are targeted towards its high-end market. The company is also building the 56-storey Anchor Skysuites in the heart of Binondo which when completed, is projected to be one of Manila’s tallest buildings. Another project is the 39-storey Wharton Parksuites, which, much like the Anchor Skysuites, will cater to families near the Chinese learning institutions in the famous Chinatown area in Binondo. The strong demand for condominium units has propelled the company to build ambitious projects like the ones above.


But while the industry is booming, the same cannot be said globally. “Both the US and European housing markets face short-term pressures. The US housing sector continuous to suffer from falling prices, while economic uncertainty in the Euro Zone will likewise affect prospects there,” she explains. To drive her point, she notes that in the Philippines, “strong demand, particularly from the OFW sector and Filipinos based abroad, will continue to drive growth. A strong recovery by the US economy will likewise provide impetus, since such recovery would mean improved business confidence worldwide and would translate to more investments and therefore, demand for residential, office and commercial spaces will ensue.” Selling lifestyle upgrade Alejandro S. Manalac, Vice President for Sales of Eton Properties Sales Corporation, notes that recent property developments point to a trend which he terms as “lifestyle upgrade”. From renting apartments, current financing packages, for example, make condominium living affordable to more and more people. “Condominium-living is getting into the mainstream. Environment concerns and rising costs of living now necessitate that people live near their places of work. Thus we see full occupancy in medium-rise buildings at the fringes of Metro Manila,” Manalac, also the Board Vice Chairman

of the National Real Estate Association (NREA), says. Eton Properties Philippines, Inc. is the real estate company of Lucio Tan whose business interests also include airlines, publishing, food and beverage. When these projects started about two years ago, a three-bedroom condominium was selling between P2 million to P3 million only. And who are buying? Compared to 20 years ago when the industry was fully dependent on the domestic market, the current housing bonanza is fuelled by investments made by the baby boomers who have a lot to spend and are now ready to retire. Manalac explains: “These are the Filipinos who left in the late 1980’s when, feeling miserable and helpless from the series of natural and man-made disasters – remember Mt. Pinatubo, blackouts, gulf war and typhoons? – left the country to work abroad. Twenty years after, they have savings with stable family and disposable incomes. To this day, we see this cycle continuing, auguring well for the industry and the country.” It is also for this reason that at the moment, Eton is concentrating on domestic projects rather than open ventures abroad. “We want to keep the capital investments here instead of outside the country,” he stressed. Manalac believes Eton has these and other solid reasons to be bullish in 2010. In fact, he adds that the company is poised to sustain this upward trend with total reservation sales surging 98 percent in the first four months of the year. It has lined up 10 new projects this year, two of which were already launched in the first

Elizabeth Ventura-Sison, Assistant Vice President for Sales and Marketing of Anchor Land Holdings, Inc.

The bullish economy creates a big room for many players to operate

quarter. “Our reservation sales from the start of the year have been very strong, with March 2010 sales being the highest in Eton’s history. We didn’t see any wait-and-see attitude on the part of our buyers and investors prior to the election. With the relatively peaceful elections over, we foresee that this boom will continue and strong numbers will keep pouring in,” he notes. The significant surge in revenues resulted from the ongoing construction of various residential projects such as Eton Residences Greenbelt, Eton Baypark Manila, One Archers Place, South Lake Village at Eton City, The Manors at North Belton Communities, Eton Parkview Greenbelt, Belton Place and Eton Emerald Lofts. He adds that leasing income from the company’s newly-opened commercial centers and office projects — Centris Station and Cyberpod Centris in Quezon City and Cyberpod Corinthian in Ortigas – boost Eton’s top line. “We have a happy problem of several BPO tenants vying for the same space compared to just several months ago when demand was slow. The outsourcing industry sees increased growth prospects in 2010 and these results in increased demand for office space. We are already in the planning stage for the second BPO office in Eton Centris,” he explains.

Agenda for President Noy Manalac is giving newly-sworn in President Benigno C. Aquino III his full approval for committing to uphold good governance. Already, positive business confidence has filled the air and hopefully, also the cash registry, as soon as the

Bernadette M. Ramos, Assistant Vice President for Marketing of SMDC

Efren Tan, Vice President for sales of SM Land, SMDC's holding company

election euphoria dies down. “We do not need new taxes with zero corruption,” he notes. The same message will be adopted as NREA holds its annual convention in October with the theme Kung Walang Corrupt, ang Magkabahay di Mahirap. But other than minimizing if not eradicating corruption, the industry leader endorses five priority concerns that the President needs to address: creation of the Department of Housing and onestop shop processing of all permits and clearances needed by developers for their projects; incentives for overseas investors and developers who go for tourism estate development and green projects; and enhancing infrastructure. Side by side with its national advocacy, NREA, through Manalac, is putting up a brave front as it champions the cause of the sales force within the context of Republic Act No. 9646, known as the Real Estate Service Act (RESA) of the Philippines. Approved in June 2009, the RESA regulates the practice of real estate service in the Philippines and creates the Professional Regulatory Board of Real Estate Service (PRB-RES). (See related story on page 82.) “The sales agents are one of the five recognized practitioners under the RESA. Problem is they do not have a voice because they are not organized. But these people, particularly the in-house agents of developers, are the real industry movers.

They are the ones going out of the country to sell our projects,” he says. “In contrast, brokers are domestic-based only, with some interests and practices leaving unprofessional and unethical concerns for us.”

A home for every Filipino Ramon H. Aldaba, Senior Vice-President of Fedsales Marketing, Inc. and Deputy GM of Omni-orient Marketing Network, Inc., the marketing arms of Federal Land, Inc., shares that the company is inspired by every Filipino’s dream to have his own house. “We appreciate very well that every Filipino wants a home of his own. In fact, the Metro Filipino of today has embraced the idea of condo living, which was out of the question two decades ago,” he says. “Those who already have homes in the city still want to buy their second and third condos. We have a lot of buyers who return to us to get from our other projects.” One reason why the sub-prime crisis cannot happen in the Philippines, quips Aldaba, is that the country’s financing sector has become more conservative than its foreign counterparts. “But crisis or no crisis, we continue with our new projects and complete those as promised. We are glad because we are now reaping the fruits of this aggressive stance as our loyal sellers stay while ‘new blood’ keeps coming in,” he adds. In the last few years, OFWs and Filipino migrants were the targets of our roadshows. He notes that there is a growing demand by balikbayans for a house to go home to when they come to the Philippines for vacation or retirement. The positive feedback from this clientele inspires the company to launch ten to 12 projects a year, even as there are already many construction projects in the pipeline.  The need for more homes is increasing, especially that the economy shows signs of improving, with more jobs created and more investments coming.


Mañalac: Condominium living is getting into the mainstream

Sison: The local industry has plenty of room to grow

The bullish economy however creates a big room for many players to operate, giving way to very stiff competition. Federal Land does not see this as a threat, “as there are still a lot of unserved demands”. In fact, Aldaba finds competition beneficial for the real estate industry. The sad experience from the floods of typhoon Ondoy has further created more demand for medium and high-rise condominiums in Metro Manila, the area where Federal Land is strong and prides itself in nearly 38 years of experience in property development. It boasts of over 50 landmark projects that now dot the Metro Manila skyline. Some of these are the GT Tower, Bay Garden, Oriental Garden Makati, Marquinton Residences, Bayview International Towers and Skyland Plaza, to name a few.

“We want to grow more and serve these demands. As we do, we also contribute in generating job opportunities for our countrymen and create dynamic communities for generations to enjoy as our mission,” says Aldaba.

Housing backlog to fuel growth SM Development Corp., the listed property arm of tycoon Henry Sy, is expecting rapid profit and volume growth in the next five years on account of the continued demand for economic housing units. Efren Tan, Vice President for Sales of the Residential Property Group of SM Land, SMDC’s holding company, said that this year alone, sales are expected to rise by 30% to 50%. Specifically, the 3.5-million shortage in housing units nation-

Ramos: SMDC employs value engineering to give clients the best investment deals


wide would prop up sales, noting that only 25,000 units were built last year, he added. The strategy: join the low-cost housing bandwagon as it bared a plan to offer condominium units priced at P1.1 million and below. A new condominium brand, which targets young professionals aged between 20 to 30 years old mostly in the business process outsourcing firms, is projected to expand the market base of the listed property developer. Bernadette M. Ramos, AVP for Marketing at SMDC, was quick to correct that niche that SMDC is targeting is not “low” but the B & C markets. “We are certainly not another Bliss (referring to the mass housing projects during the time of President Ferdinand Marcos) or tenement,” she said. “We hope to cater to the B & C segment with more disposable income. Our units are more affordable but not cheap,” she explains. SMDC plans to launch at least four new projects in Manila, Ortigas in Pasig City and Quezon City in 2010. At least one of these will be launched under My Place. The first My Place high-rise, four-tower condominium will be built near the ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corp. compound in Quezon City. It will have about 2,000 bare units averaging 20 square meters each. “Our goal here is to help alleviate the housing shortage,” said Tan. “This product will be selling at P1.1 million per unit and below at primary locations,” he says. Ramos also notes that SMDC would earn a “slightly lower” profit margin from My Place compared with its other brands, citing that the price of housing units cannot keep up with the rising cost of construction materials. The company has to be “creative” by employing “value engineering” in constructing My Place, she says. In the past few months, the price of steel

Aldaba: The bullish economy creates a big room for many players to operate

products in the country has soared, prompting the government to set a suggested retail price on billets, wire mills and cold rolled coils.

Gearing up for the rapid expansion SMDC plans to spend between P4 billion to P8 billion this year to launch new projects. On top of internal cash generation and bank loans, Tan explains that the SMDC board also approved the sale of as much as P10 billion worth of corporate notes. He says the company engaged sister firm BDO Capital and Investment Corp. for the said issue which is composed of an initial P5-billion offer with an option to upsize by another P5 billion. In 2009, SMDC launched five projects: the Princeton Residences, a one-tower project in Quezon City; Light Residences, a four-tower development at the corner of Edsa and Pioneer Street; Sun Residences, a two-tower project in front of Welcome Rotunda on Quezon Avenue; and Jazz Residences, with four towers on Jupiter Street in Makati City. As of end-March, SMDC had a total of 12 residential projects that include Sea Residences; Chateau Elysee, a mid-rise condominium project in Bicutan, Parañaque City; Mezza Residences, which is just across SM City Sta. Mesa; Lindenwood Residences, a residential subdivision in Muntinlupa City; Berkeley Residences in Katipunan Road, Quezon City; Grass Residences, which is beside SM City North Edsa; Field Residences at the back of SM City Sucat in Parañaque City. Tan attributes SMDC’s success to heightened acceptance of its affordable products, improved sales and marketing efforts, and strict adherence to completion schedules. SMDC, he adds, can turn over projects in three years. “I find our growth to be really impressive, considering we are relatively a young company that has been here for only about seven years,” he notes.

Convenience, safety, pleasure for clients Ramos expresses confidence that the new developments will “sell like hotcakes”, not only because they are “very affordable”, but also because “we constantly try to anticipate our clients requirements”. “Our development comes within the ‘Mega Residences’ concept where you will find convenience stores, even our Save More grocery at the ground floor of the building, ready to deliver orders of the building residents,” she says. “Lobbies will be looking like those of five-star hotels featuring high quality materials, even as we also subscribe to some green architecture principles such as wider hallways, louver fire exits and high windows to facilitate air circulation.” Ramos likewise stresses that SMDC follows

building codes and standards to ensure that its projects can withstand even an intensity nine earthquake. “The trend towards condominium living is also consistent with another of SMDC’s goals, which is to provide housing nearer people’s areas of work. This saves them the extra travel time to enable them to have more quality time for the family. Transportation expenses can also be reduced so that these can be used instead for other family needs,” she notes. – With reports from GTM, LCL and EZM

Tan: SMDC aims to provide housing near people's areas of work


Condo Art IKEA

IF MINIMALISM has democratized beauty and interior design, making it accessible to the common tao, then Ikea is master pedestrian. IKEA is the Swedish home products company that pioneered flat-pack design furniture in sleek, modernist, easy to assemble designs. Because it is known worldwide as affordable, it is now the world’s largest furniture manufacturing company. IKEA was founded in 1943 by Ingvar Kamprad in Sweden and it is owned by a Dutch-registered foundation controlled by the Kamprad family. IKEA is an acronym comprising the initials of the founder’s name (Ingvar Kamprad), the farm where he grew up (Elmtaryd), and his home county (Agunnaryd, in Småland, South Sweden). 46 | REAL ESTATE WORLD

Real estate heads towards new highs INDICATOR

BY ALMOST ALL PERTINENT indicators, it appears that the country’s real estate sector is heading towards new highs as it broadens its market base amid an unsettling business climate. Revving it up further is the much-improved economic landscape strewn thick with rosy first quarter economic figures. Data from Colliers International points to continued broadening of the segment and geographic base of the real estate market as developers tap into vast opportunities outside Makati Central Business District (CBD). Such development is accompanied with: (i) long-run adjustments in rental rates for residential condominiums given the impending supply glut; (ii) moderate increase in office rental rates due mainly to the BPO-driven surge in demand for office spaces; and (iii) minimal rise in retail rents as a result of the growing demand from non-traditional mall locators. As of first quarter of 2010 (1Q10), vacancy rates for almost all segments eased on the back of improved business climate. Vacancy rates for residential units declined the most followed by office, while unoccupied retail space in malls remains the same.

Year-on-Year Growth Rates of GDP, Real Estate and BPO 15





-10 1Q09


3Q09 GDP

Real Estate

4Q09 BPO


Consistent with this, there is a slight increase in the rental rates for office, residential and retail spaces. Rental growth is expected to be lower in Makati CBD than in other locations in Metro Manila. Tracking rental growth, Colliers expects no significant changes in capital values, particularly in Makati CBD.

Residential segment: Strong supply to create long-term rental adjustments

As of the first quarter of 2010, average rents for luxury residential buildings in key business districts remain stable. Luxury 3BR units in Makati CBD are priced at P540 per square meter or P135,000 monthly for a 250-sq m unit. Newer condominiums like Shang Grand Tower and The Residences at Greenbelt charge much higher on per square meter basis, although most of the units are less than 250 uaresq meters. The luxury 3BR market is spurred by the renewed demand from expatriates. In the first quarter, vacancy rates for luxury condominium units in Makati CBD eased to 4.4% from 4.8% in the previous quarter. Rents in Rockwell Center averaged P680 per square meter or P153,000 per month for a 225-square meter unit. At Bonifacio Global City (BGC), luxury 3BR units are leased at an average of P177,000 per month for a 290-sq m unit. Although residential rental rates remain stable so far, Colliers expects long-term rental adjustments as more condominium units enter the secondary and rental market. In Makati Central Business District alone, four residential condominiums are scheduled to be completed this year: Ayala Land’s Residences at Greenbelt (San Lorenzo) and The Columns at Legaspi, Century Properties’ Grand Soho Makati, and Megaworld’s Greenbelt Chancellor. The supply pipeline for residential buildings is even stronger in other areas of Metro Manila, particularly at BGC and McKinley Hill. Collier estimates the new residential projects in 2010 to be 1,823 in Fort Bonifacio, greater than the supply forecast in Makati CBD (1,451) and Rockwell (1,336).


Vacancy Rates and Rental Rates in Makati CBD Segments

Residential Luxury Others Office Premium Grade A Grade B Retail: Metro Manila Ayala Center Ortigas

Vacancy Rates

1Q10 6.9% 4.4% 8.9% 7..05% 12% 7.07% 6.2% 9.2% -

4Q09 7.5% 4.8% 9.8% 7.32% 12.11% 8.86% 6.04% 9.2% -

Rental Rates (peso/sq m/ month) 1Q10 349-729 720-850 430-830 375-455 1,120 1,030

4Q09 349-733 720-850 427-813 371-455 1,100 1,030s

Source: Colliers International

Office spaces capitalize on BPO boom

The downtrend in average rents in Makati CBD has been partially reversed in the first three months of the year, due mainly to the expansion of the business process outsourcing (BPOs) sector. Colliers notes a three-fold increase in the inquiries for expansion, particularly in the BPO sector in the first quarter compared to the same period last year. Collier forecasts an overall rental growth of five to 10% in 2010, with Makati CBD at the lower bound of the range. The minimal increase in the office rental rates in Makati CBD reflects the strong focus of developers on other submarkets like Fort Bonifacio. Office stock is much stronger in these sub-markets. And such has been the case since 2006 as office stock in Makati CBD has steadied since 2001. The large stock of office buildings in other sub-markets only mirrors the vibrant demand for office spaces in these areas. In the first quarter of 2010, vacancy levels declined more significantly in these sub-markets than in Makati CBD.

Retail profits from broadened market base Rents for Ayala Center in Makati CBD in the first quarter of 2010 slightly increased, averaging P1,120 per square meter monthly, up from P1,100 in December, while it remains the same for malls in Ortigas Center at P1,030 per sq m per month. Smaller retail spaces are priced higher at around P1,500 per square meter especially in prime mall locations. While only one major mall project, SM Novaliches, is expected to be completed in Metro Manila this year, Collier expects more mall developments in the provinces given the rising demand for mall spaces in growth centers across the country. SM Prime Holdings already unveiled its plans to construct two new shopping centers in Cebu this year. As shown by Colliers data, Metro Manila-wide


mall vacancy rate eased to 8.9% from January to March this year compared with 9.2% at end 2009. The improvement in demand is set to continue with the growing interest of non-traditional retail space locators – clinics and lifestyle services – and the potential demand from BPO locators in malls.

Positive signals

Weighed down by sluggish economic activity, the real estate sector has been posting negative growth rates. Then came the first quarter of 2010 when the Philippine economy made a staggering turnaround, posting an impressive growth rate of 7.3% with almost all sub-sectors of the economy yielding remarkable performance. This far exceeds the government’s projection of 2.9% to 3.9%. Outstripping the overall economic performance, real estate grew by 10.9% as a result of the strong demand for residential projects and business office spaces. Ayala Land Premier (ALP) and SM Development Corporation (SMDC) reported a substantial increase in their revenues at 56% and 45%, respectively, while revenues of Eton Properties improved by nearly three fold. In the first quarter as well, business process outsourcing (BPO), a key growth driver of real estate, continued its double-digit growth of 11.1%. The BPO industry projects $9.5 billion in revenues by the end of this year. Overseas Filipino Workers’ (OFWs) remittance, another major sector that is propping up real estate, reached $4.3 billion, higher by 6.9% than in the same period last year. The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) has raised its forecast on the amount of workers’ remittance this year to 8% from 6% due to the apparent increase in the demand for Filipino workers abroad. Meanwhile, tourism, which spawns demand for leisure, retirement and vacation properties, registered a 6.6% growth rate. The astounding first quarter growth rate has

resulted in upward revision of the country’s growth forecast by various institutions. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) now expects the Philippine economy to grow 3.6% this year, higher than its earlier forecast of 3.2%, with much of the projected growth being attributed to higher remittances, exports and foreign investments as a result of improved global economic outlook. The World Bank (WB) has also adjusted its growth projection from 3.1% to 3.5%, while the Asian Development Bank (ADB) revised its forecast to 3.8% from 3.3%. The continued recovery of the global economy and strong private consumption anchored on improved consumer confidence and resilient OFW remittances as well as increased public spending will serve to underpin the growth forecasts of WB and ADB. The BSP already reported that business outlook in the third quarter is nearing pre-crisis level with more firms indicating plans to expand their business. Based on a Nielsen Survey, Filipino consumers are the fourth most optimistic in the world with respect to jobs and finances in the first quarter of 2010.

Not an entirely rosy picture

Although recent economic developments bode well for the real estate sector, it still is not an entirely pretty economic landscape. There are myriad of factors that will continue to limit the growth of the sector. That the country continues to be consumption-driven with very narrow industrial base is already one gigantic constraint on growth. The long-term growth prospects of the real estate are hinged on various industries and thus, only a strong and integrated industrial base could enable it to move to a higher and sustainable growth path. Nevertheless, as the real estate sector consistently outperforms other sectors and the continued to broaden its market base amid the crisis suggests that it is dynamic and innovative enough to tap into new opportunities. -RJA


CREBA head hopes for Aquino reforms to help sustain industry growth T i n t er ior s

HE PHILIPPINE REAL ESTATE and housing industry has grown by 17% in 2009. Industry attributes this to the construction surge in low and middle-cost housing whose demand lies in the migration to urban centers in search of jobs or livelihood. These influence property developers to explore spaces beyond Metro Manila for more housing opportunities especially for the working class. A check of Metro Manila’s skyline will show more and more medium to high-rise condominiums mushrooming. Closely monitoring and contributing to these developments is a 37-year old industry association that is taking on the challenge of empowering further its members comprising of a mix of developers, realtors/ brokers, appraisers and consultants to respond positively to unfolding opportunities. President Florentino S. Dulalia Jr. obliges to an interview with Real Estate World magazine to share his thoughts on how CREBA and the Aquino administration will fit into the picture. Comments on RA 9646 or the Real Estate Service Act (RESA) are also provided. Q: What are your expectations from the incoming administration? A: First, let me underscore the philosophy of non-partisanship of CREBA as far as Philippine politics is concerned. This is largely responsible for how well we have worked side by side with every administration for the last 37 years of CREBA’s history. We will be willing, able and ready to work harmoniously with the next administration led by President Benigno Aquino III and his cabinet, for the continued development and growth of the industry. If we have done this in the midst of immense challenges that has crippled the world’s strongest economies yet spared the Philippines, we expect to be able to do more during better times, under the pro-poor and corruption-free platforms of government of the Aquino administration. Real estate developers have seen the potential of mass housing. Supportive government programs will definitely encourage more stakeholders to participate, by building their capacities, and attracting foreign investments to as many areas in the Philippines as possible. Q: What are the three major issues and threats that the industry needs to address to help ensure its further growth? A. These are very important reforms that we hope President Aquino’s administration can facilitate for the industry: 1. Speedy issuance of permits and licenses. We refer to permits by Local Government Units and the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB); Land Conversion/Exemption Clearance by the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR); and Environmental Clearance Certificate (ECC) and Environmental and Geological and Geo-Hazard Assessment Report (EGGAR) clearances by the Department of Environmental and Natural Resources (DENR), which, under EO 45, should be released in 30 to 45 days upon submission of complete supporting documents. 2. Easier availment of incentives under the Investment Priorities Plan (IPP) of the Board of Investments (BOI) for mass housing. A simplified 50 | REAL ESTATE WORLD

and speedy process of registration and availment of income tax exemption by the BOI which requires government cooperation in effecting speedy implementation will enable us to effect smooth annual substantial housing delivery. 3. Lands for long-term usufruct. To ensure ready and available land for mass housing apart from the existing inventories of the developers, CREBA urges the government to reallocate excess lands assigned to state colleges and universities, inclusive of all idle lands of both government and the LGUs, and place them under long-term usufruct for joint venture with developers so that we can provide ample and affordable housing units for government employees, as well as other preferred low-income families. Many more opportunities await investors in all the regions of the country. What is needed is less bureaucracy and corruption, quicker release of the necessary licenses and permits, more loanable funds from government financing institutions, better incentives for private financing institutions, and a clear identification of lands in the public domain that may be set aside for housing purposes. Q: What do you see are the short and longterm prospects of the industry locally and

globally? What internal and external factors will contribute to industry growth? A: Fresh opportunities that helped propel the industry come from what we call the “Sunrise Industries”. Fortunately, these are industries that require the use of land such as tourism, retirement and business process outsourcing (BPO). There is additional impetus from demand for office spaces that is accountable for the real estate boom in the business districts of Makati, Ortigas and Quezon City. Further, maximizing the incentives provided by our economic zones, IT companies have been mushrooming in “next wave” cities including Subic, Clark, Baguio, and Cebu. It is also notable that business locators have been going to the Philippines in search of affordable spaces and highly-skilled workforce. The “back-office” industry in the Philippines is experiencing double-digit grows every year, increasing the demand for more office spaces that operate 24/7. Our banking system remains stable, and this is due in no small way to the efforts of CREBA back in the decade of 60’s and 70’s to institutionalize a scheme for developers and home buyers to use the Contract-to-Sell (CTS), instead of the mortgage, as loan instrument. This practice of conservatism

Supportive government programs will definitely encourage more stakeholders to participate, by building their capacities, and attracting foreign investments to as many areas in the Philippines as possible.

has been a saving grace that insulated the Philippine economy from the very financial models that led to the failed investments of many financial institutions in emerging economies. While it is unfortunate, we understand the reasons for the decline in the OFW remittances in 2009. Yet, the year-end report of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas shows that at least $17 billion came in last year, attesting that the OFW workforce is still a major instrument in keeping the Philippine economy afloat. This augurs well for the industry because among the top in the priority spending list for OFWs remain the acquisition of housing units or second homes for themselves and their families. The American region remains the biggest haven for high-paying jobs, from where remittances hit as much as $9B, followed by Europe with $3B, the Middle East with $2.6 B, Asia with $2B, the Pacific Islands with $200M, and the African territories with $22M. Q: How can CREBA help in strengthening the contribution of the industry to the national economy? A: CREBA has taken upon itself to regularly propose legislative and administrative approaches

to housing production, finance or regulation, or submit well-researched commentaries or critique of government-initiated legislation or policies related to housing. From time to time however, CREBA has also seen it fit to propose measures or take a position on emerging concerns or issues that, although not directly related to housing, nevertheless affect the socio-economic or political environment that invariably impacts on housing and real estate. These include the following: 1.     Improvement of tax collections and replacement of VAT with tax measures that will not hurt the poor, such as idle lands tax, taxes on nonessential imports, sin taxes, taxes on winnings from gambling activities; 2.     Cooperative approach to agrarian reform and implementation of mass housing projects to wipe out unemployment and fiscal deficits; 3.     Additional fund sources for government services through suspension, if not total condonation of debt serving, OFW retail bonds, and development of capital markets through institutional alliances; and 4.     Bilateral agreements on production inputs with Asian countries and debt swapping with Japan in exchange of service contract for mining and leasing of agricultural lands.

Q: What are the remaining major plans and programs of CREBA for the rest of the year?  A: We continue with our advocacy and projects that benefit our 3,500-strong membership. There are new challenges now with the implementation of RESA but I believe that as an industry, we will overcome and respond sustainably. It is also important that we unite our industry under PhilRes or the Philippine Institute of Real Estate Service Practitioners Incorporated which is our umbrella organization under the RESA. Of course, we are likewise in the thick of our campaign and preparations for the first ever CREBA International Convention which will be held in Macau on October 23 to 25 this year. We are hoping for a successful show as a way of creating more opportunities in the international market for our members. Q: There are arguments being raised against the RESA. What do you think are the positive and negative implications of the RESA?  A: The law was created specifically to professionalize and raise the bar for the practice of real estate service in the Philippines, and prepare our professionals to be at par with the best in the world. Licensing will now be via the PRC, with more stringent requirements and heavier sanctions and penalties. Understandably, there are oppositions from some sectors. Yet, we all agree that the intent of the law, which is to protect the public from unscrupulous and unlicensed individuals and attract the trust and confidence of buyers and investors in land, must be upheld. However, the law can stand some improvements. For example based on industry practices here, 20 sales people under one licensed broker as prescribed by the RESA will not work. We also need to protect the interests of the developers since after all, they are the ones who provide the jobs to both licensed brokers and unlicensed agents. Q: Are there problems that you see in setting up the industry association as mandated under the RESA?  A: The Philippine Institute of Real Estate Service Practitioners or PHILRES has been created as mandated by RESA whose membership shall be on individual basis. Uniting the various industry associations is a challenge and PHILRES is accepting this role. It is important to put under one umbrella the licensed brokers, appraisers, public assessors and consultants of the industry without necessarily dissolving the existing associations. Practitioners can maintain their membership in the various associations from where they may avail of CPE (Continuing Professional Education) units and other programs. The other associations should not view PHILRES as a threat but instead look at it as another venue to create and spread goodwill for the real estate community. - LCL


Luxurious Living luxuriously on Minimalism

Architecture and DĂŠcor

While other architectural styles have come and gone, the simple, perfect expression of space and form that minimalism affords has endured‌ and literally, lasts! 52 | REAL ESTATE WORLD

n minimalism

WHILE OTHER ARCHITECTURAL STYLES have come and gone, the simple, perfect expression of space and form that minimalism affords has endured. Minimalism makes the best of the pureness of space, light, natural or artificial, forms married to functionality, and a good deal of flexibility. The weekend hideaway of Dr. Leo A. dela Cruz is a three-storey condominium nestled on the scenic banks of the Bayonne Bay, New York. The careful By JEannE DoREEn DEE use of minimalism on the structure itself grants the picturesque postcard view full reign, resulting in a breathtaking modern-day away-fromit-all bachelor’s haven.


other Maximum inhile space and minimum in contents, the unit is designed with architectural styles an eclectic mix of motifs, meticulously coordinated furniture andand art pieces have come that altogether produce a luxurious gone, the simple, and warm ambiance. Inside, the unit has a very Mediterperfect expression of space and form ranean feel—and the minimal use that minimalism affords has endured of décor is just the perfect backdrop for astonishing views of the harbor and lasts. Minimalism makes the best of the pureness of space, light, natural or

on different times of the day, under changing light, and various seasons, seen from five panel glass doors. A layout flooring of oak wood complements the warm hues of orange peel and burnt sienna, touched off by walls cloaked in the spring tones of lemon and lime. A baby grand piano, in solid black, provides a dramatic break. -REW

artificial, forms married to functionality, and a good deal of flexibility. The weekend hideaway of Dr. Leo A. dela Cruz is a three-storey condominium nestled on the scenic banks of the Bayonne Bay. The careful use of minimalism on the structure itself grants the picturesque postcard view full reign, resulting in a breathtaking modern-day away-from-it-all bachelor’s haven. Maximum in space and minimum in contents, the unit prides itself is designed with an eclectic mix of motifs, meticulously coordinated furniture and art pieces that altogether produce a luxurious but and warm ambiance.

no MiMinaLisM oF coLor: An oak wood flooring complements the warm hues of orange peel and burnt sienna, touched off by walls cloaked in the spring tones of lemon and lime. 53 | REAL ESTATE WORLD


Deserts in Her Memoirs GLORIA MACAPAGAL ARROYO no doubt ranks as one of the most vilified Presidents of this country. Surveys after surveys gave her the lowest estimation measure as an unpopular leader well into the end of her term. But her negative image does not surprise her because all her predecessors, except Ramon Magsaysay, suffered the same fate. Filipinos have made the blame game as their national sport. Someone has to take the flak of our collective misery or we go crazy. Her father Diosdado Macapagal was hounded by allegations of incompetence or lack of leadership in his failure to prosecute Harry Stonehill, an American industrialist within the mold of present day taipans except the existence of the businessman’s bluebook with a list of all government hotshots in Malacanang, Congress, the Courts and the Armed Forces all under his payroll. She knew what happened to the dying days of Elpidio Quirino’s presidency or Carlos Garcia’s or Cory’s or FVR’s and of course her immediate predecessor, Erap Estrada who suffered the ignominy of having his mug shot and flashed on CNN and BBC and spent six years in detention. Ten years in power earned her thousands of malcontents raring to get even once she is out of Malacanang. The idea of sleeping on the “crib” reserved by Erap for her in Tanay repulses her. She has convinced herself that her protégé won’t make it after all and she has six months before her term ends to prepare contingencies prior to giving up power to her successor. The last remaining six months was providential because our attention was all glued up at the national elections. While she runs for Congress in her Pampanga district, it looks like all is forgiven now because she made herself scarce on the national stage. Her election to Congress is doubtless a done deal. When Randy David chickened out and lost his chance to figure in an epic battle, at least in these parts, and assure himself of a stab at eternity, her presence in the Lower House can not be ignored. When both Carlos Garcia and her father were elected delegates in the 1971 Constitutional Convention, these two former presidents were the natural bets for its presiding top honcho. Her unprecedented election right after her term in June, 2010, unlike that of US President John Quincy Adams who was elected to the US Congress three years after his term in 1829, GMA’s presence in the halls of Congress is enough to cut down to size posturing political lilliputs. Of course there will be in uteru voting blocs prior to organization of the new Congress, but these amateurs shall defer or customize their game plans according to the pronouncements of GMA groupies. Remember that GMA spent a fortune to having her groupies elected to Congress as well. Her loyal court replaces her fortified Presidential Security Group as security shield while she or her surrogates lambasts the new president via privilege speeches. This is her first just deserts served on the new sitting president. But that is not exactly how she wants to get even. She knows well enough how she was justly or unfairly

denigrated. Of course she is aware that all is fair in politics. And that is precisely the point. Dean Antonio Coronel said after his adroit cross-examination of witness Corazon Aquino, “if she can dish it, she can take it.” If GMA’s foes can dish it, they certainly can take it. They have to brace themselves once GMA writes her memoirs. FM wrote what appears to be a diary from whence Manolo Quezon tried to piece out some of the late dictator’s thoughts. DM, GMA’s father wrote full blown memoirs where he famously said, “I have sat at the sumptuous tables of power, but I have not run away with the silverware.” His equally famous daughter probably thought her Big Daddy said that tongue in cheek or wonders if he really meant it. In her memoirs we will find out how exactly her conversation with the late Cory Aquino turned out to be. First, probably she’ll describe to us Cory’s call that she was coming over for a late night coffee or tea. She confesses that she knew Cory’s agenda in that famous nocturnal visit and how she despised the script of Cory’s handlers of announcing her resignation at the doorstep of Malacanang. Then on the appointed time, Cory showed herself at the door harried-looking or plain business like or on how the late President came on to her. Then she regales us on the back and forth including the small talk. Finally, how she rebuffed the former President when the later asked her in no uncertain terms to quit amid the Hello Garci scandal. Were there recriminations or a shouting match?. The next chapter after Cory would be her meeting with the self-righteous Hyatt 11 before her traumatic “I am …Sorry” spiels on TV. How her spirits were buoyed when they held hands singing “If We Hold on Together.” How she was unburdened right after her rehearsals under the deft directorial of Lupita Kashiwahra and of course her historic and unprecedented delivery of the nationwide apology. There will be special section for her erstwhile Social Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman with description only she can aptly write. Perhaps she would share with her readers the pain of parting with her confidante whom she had reposed some private and personal secrets. The middle chapters would be about the members of Congress especially the sitting senators who were up for reelection. Her narration would be on special one-on-one with so and so with an image of a knight in shining armor asking for prompt releases of their pork barrel. Or with that young congressman from Taguig pestering her and FG with campaign

funds on his first run in Congress. Or with Frank Drilon as Senate President whose every request was granted including plum appointments of his relatives. She would tell us about the Ilo-Ilo sortie with Drilon in company and his speech attesting his unwavering support to the beleaguered President. She details her disappointment seeing Drilon in the company of the Hyatt 11 announcing his defection from her. This chapter for the most part describes in detail the awkward moments prior to her delivering the State of the Nation Address in July, 2006 where Drilon sits side by side with the soon to be plucked out Speaker of the House, JdV. Perhaps under this subheading, she would speak her heart out about fleeting loyalties based on patronage and the patriotism subterfuge for political survival. She devotes another chapter for FVR and Speaker Joe. First, her casting her net into the Presidency in 1998 under her ragtag Kabalikat ng Malayang Pilipino or Kampi and her joining the presidential run of JdV as FVR’s tandem. Second, she would confess on how electoral funds are raised by political parties in this country and feel sorry about her inability to introduce electoral reforms in that direction. Third, what the ZTE was all about and the role of the young de Venecia. Her disclosure would be about the personal involvement of the father and son and how she was pestered without let up by one Benjamin Abalos who was brokering the deal. Abalos made it known in no uncertain terms that he was instrumental in her re-election. In Philippine politics, debt of gratitude has to be repaid or he talks. The Presidency is all about largess. Of course the Firm will not be missed. She would let us in on how she was introduced to the hotshots of this fixing machine. How one of the partners of this legal cabal jumped the gun on her by resigning from his cabinet portfolio when she received the confidential report of Gloria Climaco detailing the quid pro quo worth US$20M in satisfaction of Fraport AG’s claims from the government. How the Firm had corralled plum appointments in the judiciary and other key government agencies is an interesting segment in her memoirs worthy of a highlight. There will many others whom GMA will have special mention. Maybe Brother Eddie Villanueva, some Catholic bishops and other religious figures will prominently figure in her memoirs. She will wax poetic by letting us in on how her little mind works. But certainly her memory tome forms part of our historical literature. Truly, “Live your story, Faith hope and glory Hold to the truth in your heart”





Miriam Quiambao:

Woman power personified “I believe that I have stood up for the rest of the women who have fallen whether on or off the stage. I believe that through this example of mine, I have shown courage and strength of being a woman, of being who I am, and I hope to be a good example to the rest of the women in the world.” THAT WAS MIRIAM QUIAMBAO talking about her fall during the preliminary round of the evening gown competition of the 1999 Miss Universe contest. As she walked, the heel of one of her shoes got caught in the trail of her evening gown and she slipped on the floor. Despite this incident she collected herself, regained composure, walked graciously, finished her number and drew applause from the audience. She may not have won the crown that day and ended as first runner-up, but her smart and calm handling of otherwise a very embarrassing situation made the country – and every woman - proud of her. Still, Miriam’s accomplishment remains the highest since Margarita Moran won the Miss Universe title in 1973. This incident has since then inspired her to brave the odds as she moves on to fulfill many other dreams and roles.

Different hats, different persona

She acknowledges that the challenges that went with her beauty title helped her prepare for her career shifts. Being a beauty queen makes her feel good as a role model for the youth and for women. Many may not know it, but she has several advocacies for the youth and women. An avid book reader, Miriam endorses the “Tulaan sa Tren” Program of National Book Developers Board which promotes Philippine books and literature. With World Vision, she shares the campaign against child labor and the mission to help children who are victims of natural disasters to overcome their trauma. Meanwhile, being an actress allows her to express herself in ways she otherwise would not be able do. She finds it interesting to try out different characters that are a far cry from who she really is. Now, adding on her realtor hat, she finds herself finally addressing a personal problem about property management and investment, even as she

and Quiambao went back to the Philippines in 2006. She resumed her television career as a broadcast journalist with a growing number of movies and television programs too.

Industry break

Inspired by Robert Kiyosahi’s “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” best selling book and her desire to learn how has already built a business out of it. Starting with to manage her properties and put this knowledge providing homes or realty services to her friends to good use, she found herself attending several and clients, her industry interests has already real estate technical courses and passing the evolved from brokerage to becoming a developer. professional brokers’ examinations. Today, she is the Managing Director of 3Win Realty and Her journey Development Corporation, a property company Born to Magdalena Redito of Oas Albay and formed with her friends. Medgardo Quiambao in Quezon City on May 20, As Miriam puts it, she juggles her time 1975, she is the first of two children. She attended between showbiz and the real estate industry. the School of the Holy Spirit during her elementary “Once my properties are tenanted, I already and high school years and went for her collegiate leave all the work to the admin and property studies at the University of Santo Tomas where managers,” she explains. she obtained her degree in physical therapy. She is A member of Real Estate Brokers Association also a licensed Physical Therapist for the state of of the Philippines (REBAP) Greenhills chapter, she Indiana in the United States. Before her Binibining hopes that in the very near future, she will be able Pilipinas stint, Miriam had a thriving career as a to develop townhouses and multi-use buildings therapist for St. Luke’s Hospital in Manila. She also that she can lease out. worked as an instructor When asked how she can for a local gym. contribute to the industry and After her how her other “hats” help her in triumphant stint at developing an alternative career, the pageant, Miriam she says: “Perhaps if I decide to began a new career Favorite food go full blast in this industry, the working as a TV Host/ Italian, Japanese & Thai name recall can help. In the end, Correspondent for Music names are just names. I still have a major TV network worship, ballads, pop to develop trust from clients in until 2004 when she Sports terms of service and the kind got married to Italian gym, yoga, running of homes our company can businessman Claudio Tourist destination provide.” Rondinelli. The couple Boracay, Bali, anywhere in Europe Three to five years from moved to Hong Kong, Designer now, she sees herself having a China where her Alberta Ferreti, MaxMara, family: a husband, two kids and husband ran several SportMax a dog. restaurant businesses. Book/literary piece, etc. “I feel happy when I’m While in Hong Kong, reading One Life to Live by Kerry hanging out with friends/family, Miriam worked & Chris Schook I’m traveling or playing with kids. part-time as a yoga One-word to describe herself But you would not like me when instructor for two and a nice J someone intentionally cheats or half years. puts one over another person.” The marriage – GTM eventually fell apart

Personal trivia


The REIT Act:

Real estate investments made easier? REPUBLIC ACT NO. 9856, also known as the Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) Act, lapsed into law on December 17, 2009 and became effective on February 9, 2010. Its passage after a threeyear “incubation” period was a welcome development, as the REIT Act enabled the country to catch up with the rest of the world where REITs have existed for some time. The passage was despite fervent opposition from the Department of Finance on the ground that it would undermine government revenues. A REIT is a stock corporation established principally for the purpose of owning income-generating real estate assets. The REIT Act allows Filipinos – especially budding local investors or overseas Filipinos – to invest in the real estate market without directly transferring properties, and allows for more areas of diversification. Among a REIT’s allowable investments are income-generating real estate and real estate-related assets, managed funds, debt securities and listed shares issued by non-property corporations, government securities, and cash and cash equivalent items.

The REIT Act is a little stricter than other REIT regimes in Southeast Asia, particularly because it provides for a more active role for the SEC, and establishes additional layers of corporate governance requirements. Salient points of the Law

One may invest in a REIT by subscribing to or purchasing its shares of stock, which shares can only be offered for investment in accordance with a REIT plan and other restrictions that may be prescribed by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Upon and after listing, the REIT must have a minimum paid-up capital of P300 million (approximately US$6.2 million); have at least 1,000 public shareholders (defined in the law) each owning at least 50 shares of any class; maintain its status as a listed company with at least 1/3 of its outstanding capital stock owned by public shareholders, and annually allocate at least 90% of its distributable income as dividends to its shareholders. At least 75% of the deposited property of the REIT must be invested in income-generating real estate. A REIT cannot undertake property development activities unless it intends to hold the developed property upon completion, and in any event, the total contract value of property development activities undertaken and investments in uncompleted property development cannot exceed 10% of its deposited property. To encourage such investments, the REIT Act provides certain tax incentives such as:


exemption from minimum corporate income tax of 2% of gross incomelower creditable withholding tax of 1% on income payments to a REIT; • payment of only 50% of applicable documentary stamp tax, registration and annotation fees on the sale or transfer of real property to a REIT, and • final tax of 10% on cash or property dividends paid by a REIT, subject to certain exceptions. An unlisted REIT may avail of these incentives provided it becomes listed not later than two years from the date of the initial availment of the incentives. Overseas Filipino investors, on the other hand, are exempt from dividends tax for seven years from the effectivity of the tax regulations implementing the REIT Act. To protect the investing public, the REIT Act requires compliance with certain reportorial and disclosure requirements. Otherwise the REIT may be subject to penalties or the filing of an administrative, civil or criminal action. Furthermore, a REIT must appoint an independent fund manager and property manager, and at least 1/3 of its board of directors must be independent directors.

Benefits to the economy and the industry

Many industry stakeholders interviewed by Real Estate World magazine believe that the REIT Act is a little stricter than other REIT regimes in Southeast Asia, particularly because it provides for a more active role for the SEC, and establishes additional layers of corporate governance requirements. Real estate market players perceive these to mean additional constraints on the function of the property management than what the market would usually expect. Still, with the approval of its implementing rules last May 13, it is hoped that the REIT Act will contribute to the development of the Philippine capital market, and bolster the real estate market by attracting further OFW remittances, government infrastructure investment, and other individuals who will be able to participate in large-scale real estate projects as small investors through REITs. With the REIT Act of 2009, the Philippines takes a significant step in recognizing the importance of real estate as an asset class for structured investments. It is also expected to fuel growth prospects in the office, hotel and residential property development sectors, as the Philippine property market continues to be driven by increasing demand from the business process outsourcing sector, the expansion of the tourism industry, and the increasing remittances from expatriate Filipinos. - MRR


IF YOU’D BEEN OUT OF THE COUNTRY FOR A COUPLE OF YEARS, the changes you see when you come back will either distress you, or make you feel that time (and the economy) has been good to the country. The economy is still far from something to be proud of, but Bonifacio Global City is one such development that brings joy to those who live, work or play here. Twenty years ago it would have been impossible to find another development rising just a few steps away from Makati’s Central Business District. Today, however, the Fort is truly a global city that can hold its own against the world’s progressive cities. A fusion of technology and aesthetics, the city is an intelligent hub where transportation, communication, estate services and security are delivered reliably and seamlessly, leaving residents and visitors the chance to focus on whatever it is that they do best. Indeed, this is the global city that today’s globally-competitive Pinoy workers deserve. Globalization has ushered in a new age of exacting 24/7 operations and rapid turnaround times. This is driving a demand for highly integrated urban living spaces, where relaxing and secure homes are located close to places of work and various recreational choices. The demand is also for these spaces to be impeccably melded into thriving futuristic communities—and all these are found at the Fort. According to Joel Luna, Ayala Land assistant vice president in charge of Technical Planning, most of the country’s earlier business districts were devoted to office spaces and the occasional commercial spots as support. This followed the trend in the 1950s and 60s, when these areas were still being developed. Unfortunately, what was a good idea then is now the cause of heavy daily traffic as workers troop into business districts at the start of the day, then go on a the daily exodus away from their offices after work.

Modern Communities


Global City for the Global Workforce

THIS CITY IS A HIGHLY INTEGRATED URBAN LIVING SPACE THAT CONVENIENTLY LOCATES RELAXING AND SECURE HOMES CLOSE TO PLACES OF WORK AND LEISURE—BUT NOT ONLY. FORT BONIFACIO GLOBAL CITY IS HOME TO TOMORROW’S THRIVING COMMUNITIES. MARIA CELESTE L. TUMONONG REPORTS. In contrast, the Fort is an ingenious undertaking, a modern, master-planned community where offices are located close to homes. These places are kept in balance by open spaces, greenery, art and leisure spots. With urban planning, modern Filipino workers, forced to push themselves into odd schedules and to meet the rigorous demands of the highly competitive global workplace, can achieve a “work-life balance” and find the equilibrium they need to compete well. Apart from offices and residential buildings, the city is filled with landscaping, public art and community facilities. Upscale residential condominiums such as Essensa, Serendra, Pacific Plaza and Regent Parkway have located here. Recent additions

include Bonifacio Ridge, One McKinley Place and Penhurst Parkplace. Some developments now under construction are the Seibu Towers, Fairway Towers, Forbes Town, Fifth Avenue Place and The Icon Towers. These high-rise residential buildings are all equipped with the best security and technological facilities—not to mention their truly unique amenities. The provision of utilities here was also designed to provide comfort and safety in equal measure. Large water reservoirs ensure that the Fort has a 24-hour uninterrupted water supply that comes in consistent pressure. With an underground drainage detention structure that can hold 22 million liters of water, the flooding that is common to this typhoon-prone metropolis,

is practically impossible here. Both the water and sewage system is managed by the Bonifacio Water Corporation. Condominium residents also benefit from the underground piping system that distributes Liquified Petroleum Gas to the units. This system ensures a steady supply of LPG, even as it eliminates the dangers of leaking regulators and tanks. LPG is also used to back-up air-conditioning and power systems, ensuring that these services are provided without pause. Taking its cue from other technologicallyadvanced cities of the world, the electric power

Shangri-la Hotel, among others.

A Heritage Past

Bonifacio Global City was once part of the 2,578ha property of Taguig, Rizal that the United States government acquired in 1902 under American colonial rule. This huge tract of land was turned into a military base named Fort McKinley after the 25th US President, William McKinley, who led the colonization of the Philippines. Because Fort McKinley was the headquarters of the Philippine Scouts, the colonial

neled PhP25.8bln cash to government coffers. In 2003, Ayala Land, Inc. and Evergreen Holdings, Inc. of the Campos Group purchased a controlling stake in Bonifacio Land Corporation from Metro Pacific. Bonifacio Global City is developed by Fort Bonifacio Development Corporation (FBDC), now managed by the partnership of Ayala Land, Inc.—known for creating and sustaining successful business districts and large-scale integrated communities, the Makati Central Business District Evergreen Holdings, Inc. (Campos Group)—known for its financial muscle, and

Model units at the Seibu Towers (top photos)


supply and the fiber optic cable network are all constructed underground. This is in stark contrast to the rest of the country, where aboveground lines and electric poles are eyesores—not to mention hazards during the typhoon season.

Cosmopolitan City

Such attractions have lured leading local and global companies. Today, the Fort is home to national headquarters of the HSBC, the Deutsche Bank, Lawson Software, Fujitsu Corporation, Hewlett-Packard, Ericsson and TetraPak. Top property management groups FDP Asia and FDP Global are also located in the global city. Other important institutions that plan to move into the Fort are the Singapore Embassy. The Embassy of the United Kingdom is already located at the McKinley Hill, the 50ha, mixeduse township being developed by Megaworld Corporation. The Korean Embassy is also set to move there soon. McKinley Hill also houses the newly-opened Chinese International School Manila, the international hotel school, Enderun Colleges, and the Korean International School. By 2010, even the Philippine Stock Exchange will soon call Fort Bonifacio its new home. Other prestigious institutions that will set up shop are the St. Luke’s Medical Center, the Taguig Coliseum and Convention Center, and

division of the US Army, it was turned into the permanent headquarters of the Philippine Army in 1957, a few years after the Philippines gained its independence, and the lands reverted to Filipino hands. It was named after Andres Bonifacio, who organized the underground KKK organization that led the Philippine Revolution against Spanish colonizers. In 1992, some 240 hectares of Fort Bonifacio was turned over to the Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA), the body created to facilitate the conversion of former US military bases and Metro Manila camps into productive civilian use. Three years later, Bonifacio Land Corporation, a consortium led by Metro Pacific, made a successful bid to become BCDA’s partner in the development of the 240ha property, which was named Bonifacio Global City. This partnership was dubbed the “Deal of the Century” because Bonifacio Global City was sold at a staggering price of PhP333,283.88 per sqm, with proceeds amounting to PhP30.4bln. The BCDA and the Metro Pacific-led consortium subsequently created the Fort Bonifacio Development Corporation (FBDC) to oversee the master planning of the city. In 1992, the FBDC was the largest corporation registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission, with a paid-up capital of PhP71.227bln. The sale chan-

the Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA). Together, the partners lend FBDC the stability and wealth of experience in real estate development that ensure the success of the global city.

All Roads Lead Home

Because of its proximity to the Makati Central Business District and the Ortigas Centers, the Bonifacio Global City is positioned to become the business hub of the future. It is directly linked to Manila’s two major thoroughfares: EDSA and C-5 highways. Being close to the international and local airports also links it to major business centers in the country, and in the world. The Fort is accessible through via seven access points: The Kalayaan Avenue from the North, the Kalayaan Flyover via EDSA and Makati, McKinley Road from the West, the three gates from C-5 Highway from the east, and via the Airport through Villamor Air Base from the south.

Crowning Gem

Indeed, if the Philippines is the Pearl Crown of the Orient Seas, Fort Bonifacio Global City is set to become its crowing gem. It is a truly marvelous master-planned city of the future.REW




Philippine Real Estate Market


Momentum gained, better days ahead A FTER MARKET CORRECTIONS witnessed in the past two years, the local property sector is currently enjoying a rebound in demand for both office and residential developments. Why not? With the global economic crisis that started in 2008, buyers and investors have chosen to hold on to their money until uncertainties receded. And now it’s just about time for confidence to return to the market.

Indicators point to a better performance this year for the property sector, and developers have been quick to acknowledge this change in pace. In the office segment, there is an estimated 50,000 – 60,000 sq m of take-up for the first three months of this year compared to a negative 10,000 sq m take-up in the first quarter of 2009. Inquiries and site inspections increased by at least threefold during the JanuaryMarch period of this year. Residential developments, on the other hand, are enjoying brisk sales. In particular, new condominium projects by well-known developers have registered record sales during the first few months of selling. Ayala Land’s Park Terraces, Rockwell Land’s Edades, and Shang Properties’ One Shangri-La Place are all recently launched almost at the same time and have been doing well until now. These residential condominiums belong to the luxury segment of the market. Aside from project launches, property developers have been aggressive in expanding their land banks, either through acquisition or joint-venture agreements, to ensure a continuous development pipeline. When developers are clicking on all cylinders with their project launches and investment activities, it is safe to say that the real estate

Another important factor that fuels demand in the residential sector is affordability and payment terms. Ten years ago, banks are offering mortgage rates (for housing loans fixed at one year) of as high as 20%. Right now the rates have gone down to single digits at 9%. market has changed from last year. The confidence from investors, buyers, developers and other industry stakeholders have picked up for good measure. Confidence now prevails in the market.

Demand Drivers

One of the reasons why the overall real estate industry is benefitting from uptick demand is the resiliency of the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO/O&O) industry. This industry not only subsidizes growth in the property sector, it changes the way commercial properties are being developed. The impact of the BPO/O&O industry cannot be discounted. More than 70% of the inquiries and transactions in the office space leasing are from the BPO. This in turn spurs office building construction and other support properties’ developments.


Even the attractiveness of building mixed-use developments may be attributed to the rise of the BPOs. In essence, the BPO industry singlehandedly changed the landscape of property development. In 2009, the BPO industry grew by 18% in employment despite the marked slowdown in most economies abroad. From a workforce of 57,000 in 1999, the industry now has around 450,000 full-time employees (FTEs). This steady stream of employment has guaranteed expansion plans to office buildings not just in Metro Manila but in Cebu and other major cities in the Philippines. And this growth trend is likely to continue for at least five more years. Aside from the BPO sector, another important demand driver for the real estate industry is Overseas Filipino (OF) Remittances. Of the USD17-Billion remittance money transferred last year, at least 20% has been used by households for direct and indirect housing expenditures. OF money in the real estate sector usually goes to the middle income residential segment (P800,000 – P3,000,000 market). This trend is also likely to continue as the value of remittances is expected to go up by at least 10% this year to reach almost USD20 billion. Another important factor that fuels demand in the residential sector is affordability and payment terms. Ten years ago, banks are offering mortgage rates (for housing loans fixed at one year) of as high as 20%. Right now the rates have gone down to single digits at 9%. Banks are more lenient to housing loans and this trend has fueled the significant growth of residential real estate in the past decade. Developers have also done a good job of offering payment schemes that are not only attractive but really affordable. Some condominium projects back in the 90s are priced the same as the condos being sold in the market right now. But the glaring difference between selling condos back then and in 2010 is seen in many aspects. For one, the smallest condo unit size now is 15-20sqm; before it was 40sqm. Moreover, back then the down payment of 30% the total price should be paid on the spot while now as low as 20% down payment can be paid for over three years. When buying condominiums in the late 90s, the monthly amortization can cost at least P50,000 but now it can be reduced to P15,000P20,000 spread up to 180 months. These flexible payment terms have helped sustain demand for condominiums and housing.

“The office sector is finally on an uptick as expansion demand continues to pick up in the last six months. There is an optimism that this positive trend will persist in the next twelve months, and industry players are quick to acknowledge and to take advantage of this momentum.”

Office Sector

While more than a million square meters of new office space were added to the office stock in Metro Manila over the last two years, we expect this year to underwhelm with only 150,000 sq m of new office space completing. There is no new additional stock in Makati CBD this year, and most of the new office buildings are in alternative business locations like Bonifacio Global City. While there was around 500,000 sq m of vacant office spaces as at end-2009, expect these spaces to be taken up gradually in the next 12 to 18 months. This explains why some developers in several locations in the CBD are starting to build new office spaces to accommodate future demand. But while in the past it would normally take three years to construct new office buildings, the construction period of new office buildings specifically designed for BPOs can be built in 12-18 months. Demand from the BPO sector has been unrelenting over the past decade. Over 70% of the entire transactions in the office segment are coming from the BPO sector. Of the 100 office buildings built in Metro Manila from 2000 – 2009, more than 70 buildings are capable of accommodating BPOs. Today, the BPO industry occupies almost two million square meters of

office space in the Philippines, which is about 30% of the entire office space stock. Ten years ago the industry needed just 150,000 sq m. In 2008 and 2009, the BPO industry’s expansion was hindered by the crisis abroad but the industry still grew by 18%. While some expansion plans were deferred for two years, BPOs have since bounced back, on pace to take up to 300,000 sq m of office space this year. Developers on the other hand are starting to build again, with push-button projects being pursued to capture the growing demand from BPOs and multinational companies (MNCs). With the supply pipeline over the next two years significantly lower than in 2008 and 2009, overall vacancy in location excluding Makati should decline to single digits. Bonifacio Global City and McKinley Hill remains the most sought after office locations in Metro Manila. “The residential property sector banks on very flexible payment terms especially in the middle income segment; demand for luxury residential condominiums is also rising. Developers are aggressively launching projects that will extend the development pipeline for more than five years. Confidence in the residential market will be maintained, at least for the next 12 months.”

Residential Sector

More residential projects are expected to be launched this year as demand picks up. On a per square meter basis, condominium units in Metro Manila are becoming much more expensive, but in terms of total contract price (sometimes starting at P1.5 million) pre-selling condominium units are still affordable. Moreover,

pre-selling units are seen to be more affordable due to the low interest rate environment and attractive payment terms. This buying trend will continue and while developers are at it, expect more residential developments targeting all segments of the market to continue. This year, Ayala Land plans to launch more than 9,000 units of residential properties (condominiums, house and lots), starting with its launch of the highly successful Park Terraces in Makati CBD. Rockwell Land launched Edades, probably the last high-rise condominium in Rockwell Center, and enjoyed brisk sales in its first few months selling. Shang Properties also launched its One Shangri-La Place project in Ortigas Center to continue the success of The St. Francis Shangri-La Place. These projects are all in the luxury residential condominium segment, and all of them are selling very well this year. The rise of the likes of SM Development Corporation, now selling tens of thousands of units in the Metro Manila condominium market, also reflected the resiliency of the local residential condominium sector. The residential sector has rebounded from a lackluster first half of 2009 with most sought-after condominiums selling at least 30 units a month on average. Expect this bullish trend to continue as more developments enter into the market.

Moving Forward

Clearly, the tides have turned for the property sector since last year. Market fundamentals and demand drivers are stable, and there is no reason not to believe that this trend will be sustained over the next twelve months. Developers have bolstered their land banks (e.g. Megaworld bought the JUSMAG lot across McKinley Hill) and entered into long-term agreements (e.g. Ayala Land, through Avida and Amaia brands, entered into JVs with Eton Properties and Philippine National Bank). SM Land, Inc. is now building Two E-Com Center to cater to future office space demand of BPOs. Many stakeholders are banking on this momentum because the market remains huge. The Philippines has almost a trillion pesos in special deposit accounts, a potential untapped market for real estate. All these, and the implementation of the Real Estate Investment Trust which is supposed to help fund more real estate projects while allowing more investors to take interests in the industry, will make the rest of this year very interesting. We may not see another surge in the property sector like the one we saw in 20062007, but this year is definitely better than last year. With this momentum, we can only expect a better 2011. RJ is the Research Manager of Colliers International Philippines. He may be reached through his email



Metro Manila BALIKBAYANS USUALLY THINK of Metro Manila as home to mammoth malls. But Metro Manila offers more than just good places to shop. There are establishments where families can learn and have fun, spas that offer reasonably-priced therapies, tony hotels that offer the best amenities and outstanding Pinoy service, and restaurants that offer only the most exquisite gourmet. Here are five of Metro Manila’s jewels; five reasons for you to plan your visit soon. Manila Ocean Park

The Philippines does not only have its very own oceanarium now—but it even has the biggest in Asia! Opened last year, the Manila Ocean Park has since attracted thousands of visitors from all over the country. The 8,000sqm park features an oceanarium, a mall, a hotel, a restaurant row, an open water marine habitats section, and multipurpose function facilities. It boasts 20,000 marine inhabitants of 300 different species that are found in Philippine oceans. The Oceanarium is divided into six sections, namely Agos (Flow), Bahura (Reef ), Laot (Fishing Ground), Buhay na Karagatan (Living Ocean), Ang Kalaliman (The Deep) and Pating (Shark).


In Agos, you will see an artificial waterfall that flows into eight water tanks filled with diverse marine plants and animals. The water flow simulates the rivers that eventually flow to sea. There is a touch pool in this section where you can interact with the fishes. At Bahura you will see a series of 48 tanks filled with the assortment of plants and animals that make up the Philippine underwater forest. Be amazed by the vivid colors of the diverse life forms of our very own coral reefs. In Laot, four huge aquariums display a variety of fish in every imaginable size and color. You will definitely be awed by the range. Experience how it is to live underwater at Ang Buhay na Karagatan. Walk along a 25m underwater tunnel and see how marine animals interact with each other in their natural habitat. This is the key feature of the Oceanarium—and you shouldn’t miss it. See a barracuda face-to-face in Ang Kalaliman. Learn why this interesting creature is also known as the Tiger of the Sea. After this section, you will walk beneath an overhang tank where you will get a chance to see a variety of rays and fishes. Several species of shark can be found in Philippine oceans. Thus, the Manila Ocean Park gave them their very own section, called Pating. Be amazed by these often

The Spa

misunderstood predators of the sea. The Manila Ocean Park is located behind the Quirino Grand Stand Luneta in Manila. Visit their website at for more information.

Conti’s Pastry Shop and Restaurant

Be patient if you want to dine at Conti’s. Their branches are always packed, especially during weekends. But don’t worry because it is definitely worth the wait. Carol Conti-Sumulong, who didn’t have any formal training in culinary arts and baking, founded Conti’s. Carol’s sisters, Cecile Conti-Maranon and Angie Conti-Martinez, help run the business. Conti’s grants the classic Filipino lutong bahay a twist, and serves a fusion of Filipino, European, Chinese and Japanese dishes. The most popular among Conti’s parokyanos is Baked Salmon, which is served with a creamy, cheesy topping, buttered vegetables and paella rice. It is their signature dish and is a definite must-try for firsttimers. The Linguine Seafood Pesto is another favorite. It is al dente linguine served with rich basil sauce and seafood that is just simply delicious. In the dessert department, it is the Mango Bravo that draws the crowd. It has six alternating layers of crisp meringue, fresh mango chunks, butter cream and chocolate. It is avail-

able in single slice as well small and big sizes. Conti’s also serves brunch fare such as corned beef, chicken pork adobo, arroz ala Cubana and homemade beef tapa. These are served with egg, atchara and garlic rice. Conti’s also offers packed meals perfect for family or company outings. They have a pancit bam-I with chicken pie and cassava squares, and Shanghai rolls and crispy chicken with pancit and Chinese fried rice. For meryenda or pasalubong, buy a box or two of Conti’s chicken, ham and tuna pies. If you want to have a party at home, you can buy Conti’s frozen food such as embutido, steak, prawns, beef caldereta and lumpia. For those who want to avoid the hassle of cooking, then just have your party catered by Conti’s. The bakeshop-restaurant offers catering services for events of all sizes. Conti’s is located at BF Homes Paranaque, Greenhills, The Fort and TriNoMa.

Have a genuinely relaxing time when you visit the Philippines—book an appointment at The Spa. Try their Volcanic Rock Massage, a 75-minute treatment that uses hot basalt stones. The warmth of the stones will surely melt the tension in your muscles and ensure a deep relaxation that may put you to sleep. Ladies who love to pamper themselves should try the Javanese Royal Bath. This treatment was patterned after the Javanese wedding lulur spa ritual practiced by Indonesian brides-to-be since the 17th century. The Lulur scrub is used to soften and sweeten the bride’s skin. The Spa’s version lasts 90 minutes and begins with a relaxing massage followed by a Lulur scrub, which cleanses the skin. After that, milk will be slathered onto your body to moisturize and nourish it. To complete the treatment, you will be given a bath in a tub full of flowers. These are just two of The Spa’s extensive range of massage therapies and treatments. Among the other interesting must-try treatments are the Indian Ayurvedic Body Treatment and the Coffee Rub. If you love the traditional Pinoy hilot, then you can also avail of the massage at The Spa. The Spa was established in 1996 in Acropolis. It was one of the first health facilities in the Philippines that offered a complete range of massage therapies, as well as foot, facial and body care treatments. It also had a gym center that houses modern equipment and space for aerobics, yoga and Pilates classes. So that you get a holistic spa experience, branches of The Spa were all designed with a particular theme. The Alabang branch has a tropical theme, while the one in Bel-Air has a Moroccan theme. In Greenbelt, you will be transported to oriental Thailand. The Acropolis branch has a minimalist Asian theme while The Podium was designed to look like a monastery. The Spa is an accredited member of the International Spa Association. It has branches in Acropolis, Alabang, Bel-Air, Greenbelt, The Podium, The Fort and TriNoMa. Visit The Spa’s website at for more information on their services and packages.

Red Box Karaoke

We Filipinos love to sing so what better way to entertain and be entertained than in a KTV lounge that’s open from 12 noon to 4am? You will surely be able to sing your heart out at Red Box Karaoke. This family-friendly KTV has an extensive song list that spans Barbra Streisand to Mariah Carey, Elvis Presley to Harry Connick Jr. You’ll surely feel like a concert king or queen with their flat-screen TVs and surround sound system. Red Box also uses unidi-


rectional and wireless microphones to minimize feedback and make swapping mics easier for the guests. The rooms are bigger than in most KTV lounges in Metro Manila. They also have great aesthetics. The furniture, walls and carpet are well coordinated, not only in terms of style but also of color. In addition, some of the rooms are fitted with a billiards table and a poker nook, making Red Box a good place to have a party. Red Box also emphasizes cleanliness. They use ionized cleaning equipment to sanitize their microphones, and they tidy the rooms after every use. Red Box does not charge by the hour. They determine rates based on the time of your visit. Lunch hour is 12 noon to 3pm, Happy hour is 3pm to 7pm, Prime Time is 7pm to 12 midnight, and After Hours is 12 to 4am. Room rates are cheapest during Lunch and Happy hours. In addition to a wholesome ambiance and huge music library, Red Box boasts of good food. They serve appetizers such as Buffalo Wings, Spinach and Artichoke Dip, and Nachos with Creamy Cheese Sauce. Fill your stomach


with Temptations such as Beef Salpicao, Beer Battered Calamari and Sizzling Sisig. You can also spoil yourself with pizzas, pastas, and Chinese fare. Red Box has branches in Greenbelt and TriNoMa. Visit their website at for information on their promos and events.

Makati Shangri-La Hotel

At the corner of Ayala and Makati avenues lies Manila’s leading hotel, the Makati ShangriLa Hotel. The Makati Shangri-La is no different from other Shangri-La hotels. It boasts of spacious

rooms and outstanding restaurants. It is a perfect place for honeymooners, families on vacation and business travelers. The hotel is just 20 minutes away from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport and is located at the heart of the Makati Business District. The SM, Landmark and Greenbelt malls are just a stone’s throw away from Shangri-La. It is also close to the Ayala MRT station. The Shangri-La has 699 rooms. Each floor features zen waterfalls that welcome guests as they enter their rooms. To ensure a good night’s sleep, guests can choose a pillow from the hotel’s menu. The beds are covered with luxurious 300-threadcount bed linens for maximum comfort. Rooms are equipped with 25-inch TV entertainment system. Cordless headphones are available on request. For health buffs, the Shangri-La has a 24hour fitness center with modern cardiovascular and weight training systems. Those who seek the ultimate in relaxation should head for the hotel’s spa. Families who enjoy outdoor activities can use the Shangri-La’s pool and tennis courts. Food is another good thing about the Makati Shangri-La. International cuisine is served at Red. Red ingredients are showcased here as well as premier wines from all over the world. For casual dining, go to Circles Event Café, which serves continental and oriental food. If you crave for Chinese fare, then dine at the Shang Palace, and when you want Japanese, go to Inagiku. For sumptuous pastries, Sinfully Circles will be open to serve you. Another outstanding feature of the ShangriLa is the courteous and professional staff. They will make sure all your needs and requests are met and that your stay is a pleasant one. Visit for more information about Makati Shangri-La. KAT, is a cum laude of the University of the Philippines College of Mass Communication. She is now a Global Pinoy based in Singapore. She loves to write, travel, eat good food and read well-written novels. She misses the Philippines’ glorious beaches.


Maserati Launch in the Philippines



ONO, RALPH LAUREN, Adrian Swarovski, Jamie Oliver, Britney Spears, Sylvester Stallone, Vanessa Williams--- what do these celebrities have in common? They all drive Maserati! A symbol of premium lifestyle and exotic luxury, the Italian marque has lured the rich and famous into its elite world for decades. On June 24, 2010, Formula Sports, Inc. (FSI), the official and exclusive distributor of Maserati in the Philippines, launches the Maserati Quattroporte S and GranTurismo S at the Rockwell Tent Plaza Garden Center, the most prestigious avenue in the country. FSI believes Maserati will bring a different kind of exclusivity to the market. “The Maserati brand equates a unique sense of class and style. Every car is tailor-fit to its owner. We are confident that we can successfully penetrate our target market. We’ve been getting rave feedbacks. As a matter of fact, we have already sold most of the units that we have preordered,” said Wellington “Willie” Soong, FSI chairman and president.

Francesco Fabbiani, director for Business Development of Maserati Asia Pacific, was on hand during the unveiling. “Maserati prides itself on its long and glorious heritage. We are honored to collaborate with FSI in this endeavor. Their excellent track record in the local automotive industry, competence and dedication makes them our perfect partner,” said Fabbiani. The Maserati Quattroporte S is a luxury fourdour saloon that embodies the values traditionally associated with the world-renowned Italian marque and preserves the styling continuity of the classic Quattroportes, from the first 1964 Quattroporte designed by Frua the Quattroporte III used by the Italian Head of State Sandro Pertini in 1984. The Quattroporte range single-handedly created a new market segment called the “Luxury Sports Sedans” for the unique balance of the style of the luxury sedan and unparalleled driving dynamics of a sports car. It makes good use of past experience in terms of suspension and brakes. These represent points of excellence for the model,

offering different systems depending on whether the owner is more inclined towards comfort, or favours a more dynamic driving style. On the exterior, the Maserati GranTurismo S looks sportier than its predecessor, the GranTurismo. These aesthetic modifications, which includes the integrated spoiler and the newdesign side skirts, are highly effective in improving the airflows around the car. Beneath the hood lies the new 433 HP V8 4.7 engine, electro-actuated gearbox with fast MC shift, sporty exhaust, and brakes made with dual-cast technology. Recognizable on the outside by the red cylinder head covers, the new 4.7 engine was developed specifically to increase car performance and provide the driver of the Maserati Granturismo S with an even more exhilarating driving experience. Maserati was established in 1914 and is based in Modena, the luxury-car capital of the world. It has a legendary racing history and is the only car brand that has been successful in both track and road racing.



What’s on in Ventures? RP: A wise investment haven MS. G

The recently held Round Table discussion last July 5, attended by SEC legal, BOI’s Industry Studies Department, Project Evaluation & Industry Department and NERBAC, and Bureau of Internal Revenue spearheaded by Ms. G


DEFINITELY A NEW SEASON IN MANILA, with the 15th President set in motion for his first 100 days. A festive mode prevails. The inaugural speech of President Benigno Simeon Aquino III, fondly called P-Noy, is hinged on a promise of “cleansing” to break down corruption, increasing investment opportunities and serving justice to reverse ill effects of the past administration. The platform is ready to attract more local and foreign investors, both corporate vultures and angels. In this issue, let me posit a glance on foreign investors’ opportunities.

Why does the Philippines stand as a wise business hub? A Canadian IT locator, CEO of a world class developer of software applications for mobiles and computers, who has his branch operations in India, Bangladesh and Manila, confidently tells me that Manila sure is a great place to be for his western staff, who given an assignment would rush to fly to Manila. Moreover, the cost of operations reckoned per employee is best in Manila comparatively as follows: Vancouver US$8,900/head, California US$ 9,900/head, India US$ 4100/head, Bangladesh US$ 1300/head and Manila US$ 1700/head. As per the Department of Trade & Industry (DTI), our country offers a unique edge to make business more productive, competitive and profitable, the following are Philippines’ capstones: (1) quality manpower resources; (2) strategic business location; (3) liberalized and friendly economy; (4) hospitable lifestyle desired by expatriates; (5) unlimited business opportunities Local and global contexts converge to make the Philippines a hub for Asia Pacific operations, ideal for regional headquarters and regional operating headquarters; even so for new businesses and branches. Individual foreign retirees come to the islands to open their restaurants along beachfronts, cashing in while relaxing; or the corporate

players locating their Business Process Outsourcing in key areas; earlier on assembly and manufacturing plants locate in Export Processing Zones; and the story just goes on and on. Frequent flyer and long stay expats and their family, can avail of Special Resident Retiree’s Visa (SRRV), a permanent non-immigrant status with multiple-entry privileges and tons of incentives bundled for a delightful and rewarding stay in the Philippines. The business opportunities for foreign investors by way of registering their enterprises to Board of Investment (BOI) or Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) or Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) come with investment incentives in the form of tax exemptions and concessions. I recently had an excellent Round Table meeting arranged and hosted by National Economic Research Business Assistance Center (NERBAC). I surmised in one sitting as a Consultant representing various, foreign clients, who are desirous to immediately set up Asia Pacific IT hub, private lending company, and world class deluxe hotels, I was utmostly updated and advised by experts from SEC legal, BOI’s Industry Studies Department, Project Evaluation & Industry Department and NERBAC, and Bureau of Internal Revenue. After such Round Table, as a Real Estate Broker and Business Consultant, I’m confident with the start up and strategic recommendations I gave to my foreign clients that they will arrive at the most appropriate organizational development they can hedge on. The endview is to gain optimal benefits while being compliant. My delight in facilitating the roll out of foreign investments including joint ventures, rest in the fact that I could recommend a striking balance in my strategies, mindful as well of the economic benefits foreign ventures will contribute to locals. Putting value on higher productivity backed with employment with full benefits package; and pushing of local supply chain, tourism, construction and real estate among others undergirded by stakeholders’ interests and sustainability. In my next FaceInvest column, you may want to email me ( your insights and stories. I’m at your service, Ms G. That’s how my second home friends would call me. Kudos to my colleague, Daniel dela Cruz, for publishing this great mag!



Basa pushes for more pro-poor developments S HE IS NOT A PROPERTY DEVELOPER but is able to work out various mass housing projects and organize a yearly festival crucial to the development of the real estate sector.

Rosemarie Basa recalls that she proposed for organizing the Philippine Real Estate Festival (PREF) about five years ago when she was the executive vice president of the Chamber of Real Estate Builders Association (CREBA) Inc., the largest umbrella organization of professionals and entities engaged in real estate development, building and construction, technical consultancy, marketing and other related services. Basa was the first female who became the EVP of the chamber. She was elected as a director and then occupied various positions before attaining the EVP post.    “The Chamber could get members who are indirectly connected with real estate. I had a furniture company which is also part of the real estate. But I’m not running it anymore, it gave it to my brother,” says Basa, now the vice chairman of CREBA Inc.

4th Philippine Real Estate Festival

The Festival was designed to bring together under one roof all types of developments in real estate. “The public should appreciate that when you touch land, that’s real estate development. The real estate industry is the number one pump primer of our economy because it touches a lot of people’s lives –not only of builders and but also of endusers. When you are able to help people put a roof over their heads, we will be happy to accomplish that,” says Basa, also PREF’s president and chief executive officer. Basa admits she encountered difficulties at first in encouraging industry players to participate in the fair. They reasoned they could sell their projects themselves. Having developed friendship with CREBA members through 12 years of serving the Chamber, Basa was able to entice a number of them to join in the industry’s festival. The event, now in its fourth year, is also geared to attract tourists to buy properties in the country apart from local investors. “We are trying to bring in investors and fund managers from the ASEAN region to look at the Philippines,” she says.

Mass housing projects

When she served as chairman of the CREBA Social Housing Foundation few years ago,

Basa started developing mass housing projects for jeepney drivers. These also targeted more beneficiaries, including the non-governmental organizations. The Foundation caters to the 400,000 poorest of the poor who can afford to pay P2,399 a month through Pag-Ibig to own a house and lot. “Our backlog is anywhere from three to 3.2 million housing units and still counting,” she notes. “I believe that big-time developers should try to, as part of their corporate social responsibility, go into socialized housing to help the people who have no homes of their own.”

Other housing endeavors

As proof of her deep commitment to provide more affordable housing, Basa also serves other companies engaged in various housing projects. She is the concurrent president of Global First Financial Partners, Inc., a global project finance services, investment and asset management firm that makes direct investments or provide project finance services in projects worldwide that requires project financing. Basa has been developing mass housing projects for overseas Filipino workers and even for crime fighters. She also serves as the president of Fabricom Manufacturing Corp. “I designed a socialized housing project in Pinugay, Tanay and we ground broke already. We will build initially 40 units with an area of 24 square meters each.” Likewise, Basa is working out a housing project for 250 families located in Antipolo City.

First jobs

Basa earned her AB English diploma from a university in the province at age 18. She later took courses on Personnel Management at the University of the Philippines. Basa also took up Law but she had to discontinue her studies to work in former Aircon Inc., the manufacturer of Fedders air conditioners. She got hired by chance as a clerk. “I was not applying, I just accompanied my friend. I sat in front of the assistant personnel manager who was writing articles for a newsletter for their corporation. I was the editor-in-chief of our school paper in College. I offered to help him. The next day, I

was the one who was hired,” she recalls. Years later, her boss set up a company where Basa was also employed. She later established her own furniture firm.

Career and family

Basa’s typical day starts at six in the morning. She goes jogging after waking up. “Every day, I’m in the office unless I have to visit Antipolo where I help out with the housing projects for their employees. I’m the consultant for socialized housing for the employees of Antipolo City. Then I have Fabricom and Global First Financial Partners. I’m also the consultant of a columbary which we are building,” she says. Basa only attends business functions but could not be seen hanging out at night. “People might think I’m sosyal but I’m not. I’m an outdoor girl but I’m not a party girl. I don’t even know how coffee, tea, red wine and white wine taste. I just drink water and freshly squeezed orange juice,” she describes herself. She spends her weekends with her family. “I have brothers and sisters here. I have two daughters and one is in the US already.”               

Winning attitudes for success

Basa possesses winning attitudes which have been helping her achieve success in her endeavors. She believes that success depends upon an individual capacity and not on gender factor.      “I put my heart and soul to a project. When I get involved in a project, I want to see it through. Putting up a real estate festival of this size where you involve practically all the major developers I think is a feat by itself,” she notes. Basa hopes to continue pursuing more housing projects as people would always need homes. “As long as there is a housing backlog in the Philippines, I believe everybody in the real estate sector should do his share in helping the less privileged own a socialized housing under liberal terms. That will be my continuing advocacy; I will really encourage everybody in the real estate to help,” she adds. – LG


3-day special property sale at PREF 2010  


LOSE TO 300 KEY PROPERTY developers will offer to the public various real estate projects in this year’s 4th Philippine Real Estate Festival (PREF) slated this July 29-31 at the World Trade Center in Pasay City. PREF president and chief executive officer Rose Basa said these projects include development of new towns, resorts, hotels, retirement communities, business process outsourcing (BPO) techno-parks and cyber complexes, medium rise and high-end condominium units, and housing in the low-cost, middle and high-end categories. “We want to present to the public all types of real estate development in the country today,” she says. “The PREF three-day Special Property Sale will serve as a venue for prospective property buyers to be apprised, gain access and buy quality realty assets at discounted prices, with fund matching support services.” Basa said this year’s PREF also hopes to link up fund providers and managers with developers and other investors in new emerging projects aimed at the global market. “This will now be targeting the ASEAN region. We are trying to bring in investors and fund managers to look at the Philippines,” she says. Basa said PREF and the Department of Tourism are working closely to introduce to foreign investors’ market the latter’s “Live your dream” campaign.  “Under this campaign, we encourage tourists to buy properties here because if they have properties here, they always come back,” she explains. Basa said the festival will revolve around


this year’s theme “Global Tourism and Real Estate Development – Sunrise Industries for the Philippine Economy”. “We have opted to focus on the real estate dimension of tourism development. This is in addition to the festival’s traditional support for the housing and urban development sector,” she

stresses. In a separate interview after the PREF launch, Jaime Cura, tourism congress vice president and former national president of the Chamber of Real Estate Builders Association (CREBA), noted that the consolidation of the tourism and real estate sectors sits well with the objective of the Tourism Act of 2009 to close the huge gap between the number of foreign tourist arrivals in the country compared to its neighbors. “Our ASEAN neighbors such as Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, and Indonesia have been registering millions of arrivals in double-digits for a good number of years now, while the Philippines has been unable to break past the four-million barrier,” Cura says. He pointed out the importance of developing and sustaining the tourism industry because it provides positive domino effect to the economy. “While tens of millions of its own manpower are forced to seek alternative employment outside of the country, tourism-related businesses could provide employment and other economic opportunities for many of them right here in their own country” he added. President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III will serve as the keynote speaker during the opening of the three-day event. Leading industry players and top international speakers will have the opportunity to share some of their best ideas and practices in the symposia and panel discussions that will form part of the festival. An exhibit that will showcase some of the more successful projects in the country and the ASEAN region will likewise be featured. The festival will also include organized trips to select tourism-related projects for interested foreign guests and local participants. – LG


global view

Counting Hidden Costs…

and Hidden Opportunities STEVE ROGERS

THE OBJECTIVE OF A REAL ESTATE investment is the same as that of any other investment: to make money. At first glance, that’s simply a matter of selling a property for more than what we paid for it, but first glances can often deceive, and accurate assessment of returns mean factoring a number of hidden costs—and a number of often overlooked sources of return—into the picture. Let’s say I bought a property for $1mln and sold it for $1.3mln. That’s a 30% return, and that’s pretty good… or is it? Look a little closer. The first and most obvious question: how long did I hold that property? If I held it for, say, 3 years, then my annualized return, which I need to compute in order to compare with other investments, drops to 10%. That’s still not bad… but unless I owned property in a tax-free jurisdiction like the United Arab Emirates, I presumably paid property taxes over that 3-year period, and in some areas those taxes can put a very real dent in overall yields. What about the cost of maintaining the property in the condition it needs to be in order to sell at an optimal price? What about brokerage and other transaction costs associated with the sale, and capital gains taxes on the proceeds of the sale? If I were unfortunate enough to have made the purchase and sale in US dollars, and I were making that sale today, I’d also have to factor in currency depreciation, and once I did I might well find that I’d have been better off keeping the money in a simple selection of non-dollar denominated bonds.

Since real estate generally represents a quite large and often not entirely liquid investment in a single market, we want to be sure that this assessment is thorough and accurate.


Of course there are positive factors as well. If I chose the property wisely I may have been able to secure rental yields of up to 10% a year, and even after subtracting agent fees and taxes on rental income, that’s quite a substantial gain. I may also have been able to use the property. Properties in up-and-coming resort areas, not only have excellent potential for asset appreciation and good yields from short-term rental, but if you use them for your own vacations, that’s another source of value, even if it doesn’t appear on your balance sheet as cash income. That’s a small selection of the indirect and hidden costs and benefits that can be associated with real estate investments. Even with those costs factored in, there’s no doubt that wellselected property can be an extremely good investment, for the medium- and long-, and sometimes even the short-term. To maximize returns, though, we need to assess all these factors before making any purchases, and since real estate generally represents a quite large and often not entirely liquid investment in a single market, we want to be sure that this assessment is thorough and accurate. In future issues, we’ll look a little more closely at some of the world’s popular real estate investment markets, and at some that aren’t quite as well known. We’ll look at them not only from the perspective of how fast and how high the value of the property is likely to climb, but also with an eye toward calculating a full and realistic assessment of costs and gains. We’ll also look at some of the emerging vehicles for diversifying a global real estate portfolio without pouring enormous sums into full ownership of a package of properties—and at the advantages and disadvantages that these vehicles present. There’s a world of opportunity out there, and a lot of evaluating to do, so there’s no shortage of markets and investment vehicles to review. I hope the exercise is an interesting and profitable one for all of us! ReW STEVE ROGERS is a Philippine-based international journalist who writes for the International Herald Tribune and the Council for Foreign Relations on a variety of topics.

Over 1M houses for the poor among GMA legacy OVER ONE MILLION HOMES for poor and low-income families and a “sustained and vibrant implementation of the housing program” are among the major accomplishments of the government in the last nine years. This was the report of former Vice President Noli De Castro to former President Gloria MacapagalArroyo and various stakeholders during the Retrospective Seminar on the Housing Sector held in late May at the Makati Shangri-La Hotel. De Castro, who served as concurrent Chairman of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) since 2004, said the government’s programs for low-income Filipinos and the informal sector provided shelter security to more than one million families from 2001 to March 2010. For the formal sector, De Castro credited the PagIBIG Fund’s “bold reforms” in its housing loan program — resulting in higher loanable amounts, lower interest rates, longer repayment term, faster processing of loan applications, and decentralized operations — for the surge in home acquisition among low- to middle-income families throughout the country since 2001.

More housing opportunities

De Castro said the monthly amortization for a P400,000 housing loan has gone down from P5,400 a month in 2001 to only P2,400 today, so that “even minimum wage earners can now afford to buy their own house instead of renting one.” From total housing loans of P3.82 billion in 2001 for around 16,000 housing units, Pag-IBIG released P45.7 billion for nearly 75,000 units under its End User Financing Program in 2009. De Castro added that the reforms and increased funding has enabled more families outside Metro Manila to acquire homes, supporting government’s efforts to decongest the country’s most urbanized region by developing new areas for housing.

For the informal sector, the administration’s housing efforts is highlighted by the Asset Reform Program to improve security of tenure. One initiative under this program is the Rail Relocation and Resettlement Program, the largest and most successful undertaking of its kind by the national government. The program was implemented in support of the projects to revive the Northrail line from Caloocan to Pampanga, modernize the Southrail line from Caloocan to Calamba, and link the two lines. De Castro called the administration’s current resettlement strategy “an improvement from the past.” “Consultation at the grassroots level is enhanced, such that the beneficiaries themselves participate in the decision on the resettlement sites,” he said. The strategy adopted in this resettlement program has been replicated in other programs such as the NLEX-C5-SLEX project and has resulted in providing shelter security to about 105,000 families.

Community Mortgage Program

The government also strengthened the Community Mortgage Program (CMP) with the creation of the Social Housing Finance Corporation (SHFC) in 2004 to focus on solely on shelter programs for the informal sector. The CMP released P5.3 billion funding 963 projects under President Arroyo which benefited 109,000 families, compared to 847 projects at a cost of P2.95 billion in the previous 12-year period. Another unprecedented achievement of the housing sector under President Arroyo is the issuance of 113 proclamations declaring about 27,000 hectares of government land all over the country as socialized housing sites, benefiting an estimated 280,000 families. De Castro likewise cited the partnership with the various stakeholders in the housing sector - such as the local government units, the private developers, nongovernment and people’s organizations — as a factor for

what the sector has accomplished. Testimonials from actual beneficiaries of the CMP, NHA relocation projects and the Pag-IBIG housing loan program affirmed De Castro’s presentation. Underscoring stronger partnerships fostered by the government with various stakeholders, representatives from the Subdivision and Housing Developers Association (SHDA), Standard Chartered Bank, Tony Meloto of Gawad Kalinga and Taguig City Mayor Freddie Tinga also gave their testimonials.

Invest in high-yield facilities

In a separate occasion, De Castro urged overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to “save for the rainy day” and invest in instruments that will give “high returns for their hard-earned money”. He cited Pag-IBIG Fund’s savings scheme, which is now mandatory for OFWs, as a form of high yield, low risk investment that benefits its members through multipurpose and housing loans. According to De Castro, the Fund declared a dividend rate of 5% in 2009, “the highest dividend rate given by Pag-IBIG and better that what you can get from other deposit instruments.” He also revealed that a new scheme called Pag-IBIG II, a voluntary contribution program that offers even higher dividends, is now open to Pag-IBIG members. Pag-IBIG Fund Chief Executive Officer Jaime Fabiaña gave the orientation on the institution’s financial condition and the performance of its provident savings and housing programs. Fabiaña disclosed that there are 459,180 OFW members of the Pag-IBIG Fund, and that overseas members availed a total of P9.6 billion worth of housing loans in 2009, 21% of the record P45.7 billion home loans was released during the year. The meeting was part of the series of Financial Literacy Briefing and Orientation on the Pag-IBIG Fund Programs.


RESA Board Members (from L to R) Ramon Cuervo III; Bansan Ochoa; Dr. Eduardo E.G. Ong, Chairman; Rafael Fajardo and Florencio DiĂąo

RA 9646 or the Real Estate Service Act:

Professionalizing the industry towards client protection ALMOST A YEAR AFTER THE PASSAGE and effectivity of the landmark real estate law, the industry has yet to experience significant headway in the professionalization and regulation of the practice of real estate service in the country. Not that stakeholders are very keen about it due to some very contentious issues. Republic Act No. 9646, or the Real Estate Service Act (RESA), provides for the organization of a Professional Regulatory Board of Real Estate Service (PRB-RES), and the preparation of its implementing rules and a Code of Ethics and Responsibilities for real estate service practitioners within six months after its effectivity. The Board was formed about eight months after the enactment of the law, with its chairman and members inducted in March this year. The first PRB-RES is composed of Dr. Eduardo G. Ong as chairman and Bansan S. Choa, Ramon C.F. Cuervo III, Rafael M. Fajardo, and Florencio Dino as members.

Accreditation from the DTI to PRB-RES

Prior to the enactment of the RESA, which was introduced some 20 years ago, licensure examinations were administered by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). This function is now transferred to the PRB-RESA which is under the supervision and administrative control of the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC). The PRB-RESA is tasked to provide policy guidelines for the development of the real estate industry, conduct licensure examinations for the


practice of the real estate service profession, issue or revoke registration certificates, and enforce the RESA and its implementing rules and investigate violations of such, among others. Any violation of the RESA and its implementing rules would be punishable of a fine of not less than P100,000 or imprisonment of not less than two years, or both. On the other hand, a violation committed by an unlicensed real estate service practitioner gets a double penalty.

Salient points in the Law

Under the RESA, only a duly licensed and registered real estate service practitioner, i.e. real estate consultant, appraiser, broker, or salesperson, is allowed to practice real estate service. Except for real estate salespersons, which only need PRBRESA accreditation, all other real estate service practitioners are required to undergo a licensure examination. However, certain individuals may be registered without taking the examination. They include those who are already licensed and actively practicing real estate brokers, appraisers or consultants on the date of effectivity of the RESA. Foreign real estate service practitioners may be licensed or registered in the Philippines only if their countries of citizenship specifically allow Filipino real estate service practitioners to practice within their territorial limits on the same basis as those countries’ citizens. Provisions in the RESA that are particularly issue-laden deal with accreditation issues, agents or salespersons (who are not really covered by the

RESA) and practitioners in government positions. The RESA requires a maximum of 20 agents or salespersons to be under the direct supervision and accountability of a licensed broker. They cannot be signatories to a real estate transaction agreement unless their broker is also a signatory thereto. Furthermore, they may only receive a fee, commission or compensation from their broker for any service rendered in any real estate transaction. On the other hand, the RESA requires all government positions that primarily entail the services of any real estate service practitioner to be filled only by those who are duly registered and licensed within three years from the effectivity of the RESA. Permanently appointed and incumbent assessors will continue to function as such without diminution of status, rank and salary grade, but may not be promoted unless they meet the aforementioned qualification requirement.

Boon or bane?

Industry stakeholders are one in giving their seal of approval to the law, if only to professionalize their ranks. However, critics believe that because of the new requirements imposed in the law, the RESA would be providing a biased policy environment against practitioners who have been trained and are actually skillful and successful in the field. What good is professionalization if this cannot bring business anyway? In the recent public hearing for the drafting of the implementing rules and regulations (IRR), the PRB-RES attempted to calm some fears on these and other related issues with the following assurance and clarification: The first draft of the module for the four-year course BS in Real Estate Management has been reviewed by the Board and the course is projected to be offered in 2011. Practitioners accredited under MO39 under the Department of Trade and Industry can continue to practice until such time that they get the required accreditation. Continuing professional education seminars (CPE) may remain to be conducted by existing providers until the CPE Council comes up with the new guidelines. CPEs obtained from 2007 to 2010 are still valid but practitioners need to submit the relevant supporting documents to PRB-RES for validation purposes. Government employees handling appraisal may be licensed only if they are holding to a corresponding plantilla position. The first PRB-RES board examinations will be held on December 5 for the brokers and December 6 for appraisers. The PRB-RES committed to come out with the final IRR, which is due six months ago, within June this year. It also appealed for involvement of stakeholders to ensure that their concerns will be covered. Public hearings were conducted by the Board in Cagayan de Oro, Cebu and the National Capital Region for inputs to the IRR. - MRR


great expectat Will good governance bring good business?



“There is no greater nation than our Motherland. No greater people than our own. Serve them with all your heart, with all your might and with all your strength.” Ninoy Aquino in a letter to his only son Noynoy.

e once commented in a newspaper article that he is no superman who can bring all the solutions to age-old problems. But his campaign commitments and promises towards good governance are apparently enough for people to put their bets on him and embrace him, including his smoking which he has yet to give up. What problems is he facing? There had been varying accounts but P-Noy, as President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III prefers to be called, has confirmed the following priorities of his government: revoking midnight appointments; stopping graft and corruption; making the wheels of justice move faster and addressing the huge budget deficit and unemployment problem, including bringing back OFWs to work here. A controversial pronouncement is his resolve to attend to these priorities, and other programs, without imposing new taxes. “He may not impose taxes maybe for a year and we may not feel the negative effect yet“, said Dr. Emil Antonio, a professor from the University of Asia and the Pacific in a workshop among Congressional staff. “But after one year and without addressing tax collection inefficiencies, it will be very, very difficult already.” Meanwhile, in a recent forum with food exporters, Dr. Benjamin Diokno, former Budget Secretary and Professor at the UP School of Economics, said that good governance calls for simultaneous resolution of the following issues: • Political stability • Control of corruption • Rule of law • Government effectiveness • Regulatory quality • Voice and accountability When asked if this government has the capability to deliver, he gave a big smile and readily answered “kayang-kaya”. -LCL





Highlights of the Inaugural Address: Resolving the Governance Crisis

In his inaugural address, President Aquino has spoken loud and clear of his intentions to resolve the crisis of governance and transition the country out of poverty by promoting and implementing good governance. Ushering in an era of good governance, the President promised to put an end to senseless spending, bribery, stealing, and patronage politics, among others. “No more junkets, no more senseless spending. No more influence-peddling, no more patronage politics, no more stealing. No more sirens, no more short cuts, no more bribes. It is time for us to work together once more,” saysthe President. He also made an assurance that justice will be served to the whole nation impoverished by a highly corrupt government.

“To those who did me wrong, I have already forgiven you. To those that abused the Filipino people, I have no right to do the same,” said P-Noy. His Excellency, who committed to lead by example, stressed that crimes cannot go unpunished as that will only give consent to their occurring over and over gain. “There can be no reconciliation without justice,” he notes. “We shalI defeat the enemy by wielding the tools of justice, social reform, and equitable governance leading to a better life. With proper governance life will improve for all,” said the President. The resolve to end the crisis of governance in the country shall start by having a set of leaders that strive to fulfill the needs and aspirations of its people, he stressed. “The Aquino Administration is here to serve the people rather than be served by them. We will design

Noynoy Biography Short biography* Noynoy C. Aquino III has always viewed politics as a necessary vehicle for change, a perspective he formed early in life through the examples set by both of his parents. In 1998, he ran for a seat in the House of Representatives and won. He would serve as Congressman of the 2nd District of Tarlac until 2007. In his nine years at the Lower House, Noynoy focused on the fiscalizing role of a legislator. He felt that there were already too many laws, and good ones at that, but they seemingly lacked proper implementation. He concentrated on crafting laws that would help create opportunity rather than impose additional burdens to


those who are already disadvantaged. He actively took part in budget deliberations to ensure that government initiatives do address the plight of the people who need help the most. His commitment to continue the legacy of his parents was evident in his performance. In November 2004, he became Deputy House Speaker of Luzon, but he relinquished the post when he joined leaders of the Liberal Party (LP) in calling for the resignation of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo at the height of the “Hello Garci” scandal. To him, it was easier to give up the position than abandon his duty to hold accountable those who do wrong. In May 2007, he ran for Senator and won, placing 6th in

the national elections. He chairs the Senate Committee on Local Government, and is also the vice-chairperson of the Committee on Justice and Human Rights. He had been determined to ensure that his key legislative initiatives would bear fruit and to see them through until the end of his term. However, fate had other plans for him. The passing of his mother, former President Cory Aquino, stirred a longdormant yearning for good leadership. Filipinos from all walks of life, here and abroad, began to look at Noynoy as the new hope for a better Philippines. The groundswell calling for him to run for President became too loud to ignore, and eventually overcame his reluctance. In his letter from prison many years ago, Ninoy said to

Noynoy, “Son, the ball is now in your hands.” Today, the people want the future back into their own hands and Noynoy will not let them down. His critics say he merely trades on his good name and skeptics consider him a lightweight. Rivals accuse him of wrongdoing despite a clearly unblemished record. Noynoy’s detractors have been busy trying to bring him down, but their efforts only improved his popularity. Noynoy is an economist by education, a lawmaker by vocation. He is an audiophile, history buff, marksman and self-taught billiards sharpie. He is a loving brother and uncle, and a steadfast friend. He is also destined to be the one to finally lead our country towards a brighter future. A. House of Representatives Aquino was elected to the House of Representatives in 1998, representing the 2nd District of Tarlac. He won reelection in 2001 and 2004, and served until 2007. Aquino served on numerous committees as a member of Congress: the Public Order and Security, Transportation

and Communications, Agriculture, Banks &and Financial Intermediaries, Peoples’ Participation, Suffrage and Electoral Reforms, Appropriations, Natural Resources, and Trade and Industry committees (11th Congress), the Civil, Political and Human Rights, Good Government, Public Order and Security, Inter-Parliamentary Relations and Diplomacy committees (12th Congress), and the Banks and Financial Intermediaries, Energy, Export Promotion, Public Order and Safety committees (13th Congress). Aquino was also Deputy Speaker from November 8, 2004 to February 21, 2006. B. Senate Barred by term limits from seeking a fourth term as the Representative for the second district of Tarlac province, Aquino was elected to the Senate in the May 14, 2007 midterm elections under the banner of the Genuine Opposition (GO), a coalition comprising a number of parties, including his own Liberal Party, seeking to curb

attempts by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to amend the Constitution. In his political ads, he was endorsed by younger sister, TV host Kris Aquino, and mother, the late former President Corazon Aquino. Although a devout Roman Catholic, he was endorsed by one of the largest Protestant churches in the Philippines, the Jesus is Lord. With more than 14.3 million votes, Aquino’s tally was the sixth highest of the 37 candidates for the 12 vacant seats elected from the nation at large. He assumed his new office on June 30, 2007. C. Personal life Aquino is a shooting and billiards enthusiast. He is also an audiophile, and enjoys listening to jazz, bossa nova, and OPM (Original Pinoy Music). One of Noynoy’s favorite Filipino artists is singer/composer Noel Cabangon and Gloc-9. *


Cabinet members and other appointees (as of July 7, 2010)

1. Executive Secretary - Paquito Ochoa Jr. 2. Chief of staff (PMS) - Julia Abad. 3. Agriculture - Proceso Alcala 4. Budget and Management - Florencio Abad 5. Defense - Voltaire Gazmin 6. Energy - Jose Rene Almendras 7. Environment and Natural Resources- Ramon Paje 8. Finance - Cesar Purisima 9. Bureau of Internal Revenue - Kim Henares 10. Bureau of Customs - Angelito Alvarez 9. Foreign Affairs - Alberto Romulo 10. Health - Dr. Enrique Ona 11. Higher Education - Patricia Licuanan 10. Justice - Leila de Lima 11. Labor and Employment - Rosalinda Baldoz 12. National Economic and Development Authority - Cayetano Paderanga 13. Public Works and Highways - Rogelio Singson 14. Science and Technology – Mario Montejo 15. Social Welfare and Development - Corazon Soliman 16. Tourism - Alberto Lim 17. Trade and Industry - Gregorio Domingo 18. Transportation and Communications - Jose de Jesus President Aquino will take on the Interior and Local Government post while looking for a suitable candidate.

and implement an interaction and feedback mechanism that can effectively respond to the people’s needs and aspirations”, Aquino adds in his speech that drew applause 37 times. The people's need for quality basic social services such as health, education and housing shall be fulfilled, along with the vision of providing quality jobs to every Filipino in his own country. This shall be done through quality infrastructure projects essential to furthering the development of tourism in the country, improving business efficiency, and reducing transportation costs, he adds. To create more jobs, the President will cut

bureaucratic red tape and foster a stable policy environment to attract more investments in the country. "To our friends and neighbors around the world, we will be a nation where we can say 'It all works'" he declares. The President likewise mandated further strengthening of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) to improve tax collection efficiency and of the Bureau of Customs (BOC) to eliminate corruption. This shall enable the new government to adequately provide these basic social services and fulfill its objectives of enhancing public welfare. -RJA

Platform: A Social Contract With The Filipino People* A National Leadership in Need of Transformational Change • Its legitimacy is under question; • It persecutes those who expose the truth about its illegitimacy and corruption; • It stays in power by corrupting individuals and institutions; • It confuses the people with half-truths and outright lies; • It rewards, rather than punishes, wrongdoing; • It offers no lasting solutions for the many problems of the country; • It weakens the democratic institutions that hold our leaders accountable. • It hinders our local governments from delivering basic services; • It has no vision of governance beyond political survival and self-enrichment. A People Crying out for Change • Corruption robs our children of their protection, nutrition and education. • Corruption destroys our families and communities. • Corruption steals from our farmers and workers. • Corruption deters businessmen from investing in our economy. This has eroded our spirit as individuals, as communities, as a people. • We have lost trust in the democratic institutions we so 88 | REAL ESTATE WORLD

courageously re-established after the dictatorship. • Our proven capacity for collective outrage and righteous resistance has been weakened. • We have ceased to depend on the patriotism and civic engagement that used to animate many of our efforts. • We have become divided and alienated, focusing only on ourselves and on our individual pursuits. • Our moral faculties as a people have been paralyzed. • We have retreated into a dark world of self-absorption and cynicism. Our collective despair has reached its lowest point. Then finally, the gift of light. Cory Aquino passed on to the next life. From our sadness, we awakened to a shaft of light cutting through the darkness. She left the Filipinos a legacy of selfless love for country and people. Filipinos’ connection with each other was rekindled. In death, she enabled us to hope again for decent government. The millions who connected with Cory at her funeral represented something more than euphoria, sentiment or transient emotions. They represented the reverent memory of a good leader in the past and the firm hope of having a similarly good leader in the future. A People’s Campaign of Renewed Hope… • Anchored on Ninoy’s and Cory’s legacy of change through the ways of democracy • Embraces the qualities of integrity, humility and trust-

worthiness in public leadership • Recognizes the absence of these qualities in government as a major cause of widespread poverty, misery and despair. The Vision for the Philippines: A country with… 1. A re-awakened sense of right and wrong, through the living examples of our highest leaders; 2. An organized and widely-shared rapid expansion of our economy through a government dedicated to honing and mobilizing our people’s skills and energies as well as the responsible harnessing of our natural resources; 3. A collective belief that doing the right thing does not only make sense morally, but translates into economic value as well; 4. Public institutions rebuilt on the strong solidarity of our society and its communities. Our Mission: We will start to make these changes first in ourselves—by doing the right things, by giving value to excellence and integrity and rejecting mediocrity and dishonesty, and by giving priority to others over ourselves. We will make these changes across many aspects of our national life.

A Commitment to Transformational Leadership: 1. From a President who tolerates corruption to a President who is the nation’s first and most determined fighter of corruption. 2. From a government that merely conjures economic growth statistics that our people know to be unreal to a government that prioritizes jobs that empower the people and provide them with opportunities to rise above poverty. 3. From relegating education to just one of many concerns to making education the central strategy for investing in our people, reducing poverty and building national competitiveness. 4. From treating health as just another area for political patronage to recognizing the advancement and protection of public health, which includes responsible parenthood, as key measures of good governance. 5. From justice that money and connections can buy to a truly impartial system of institutions that deliver equal justice to rich or poor. Economy 6. From government policies influenced by wellconnected private interests to a leadership that executes all the laws of the land with impartiality and decisiveness. 7. From treating the rural economy as just a source of problems, to recognizing farms and rural enterprises as vital to achieving food security and more equitable

economic growth, worthy of re-investment for sustained productivity. 8. From government anti-poverty programs that instill a dole-out mentality to well-considered programs that build capacity and create opportunity among the poor and the marginalized in the country. 9. From a government that dampens private initiative and enterprise to a government that creates conditions conducive to the growth and competitiveness of private businesses, big, medium and small. 10. From a government that treats its people as an export commodity and a means to earn foreign exchange, disregarding the social cost to Filipino families to a government that creates jobs at home, so that working abroad will be a choice rather than a necessity; and when its citizens do choose to become OFWs, their welfare and protection will still be the government’s priority. Government Service 11. From Presidential appointees chosen mainly out of political accommodation to discerning selection based on integrity, competence and performance in serving the public good. 12. From demoralized but dedicated civil servants, military and police personnel destined for failure and frustration due to inadequate operational support to professional, motivated and energized bureaucracies with adequate means to perform their public service missions.

Gender Equality 13. From a lack of concern for gender disparities and shortfalls, to the promotion of equal gender opportunity in all spheres of public policies and programs. Peace & Order 14. From a disjointed, short-sighted Mindanao policy that merely reacts to events and incidents to one that seeks a broadly-supported just peace and will redress decades of neglect of the Moro and other peoples of Mindanao. Environment 15. From allowing environmental blight to spoil our cities, where both the rich and the poor bear with congestion and urban decay to planning alternative, inclusive urban developments where people of varying income levels are integrated in productive, healthy and safe communities. 16. From a government obsessed with exploiting the country for immediate gains to the detriment of its environment to a government that will encourage sustainable use of resources to benefit the present and future generations. This platform is a commitment to change that Filipinos can depend on. With trust in their leaders, everyone can work and build a greater future together. *


certainly habitable: A one-stop tour of some of the world’s strange buildings



EIRD, ODD, BIZARRE, incredible looking architecture, these strange buildings are just 20 of the 50 others in the website of Village of Joy (http:// that defy many conventions about house building and design. Consider: multi-toned colors, bizarre curves, odd angles, unusual twist and turns, uncouth enormity, whimsical, structurally daring, majestically intricate features in one or all of these buildings. Credit these to the architectural designs of avant-garde artists like Friedensreich Hundertwasser, Salvador Dali and Antoni Gaudi and individuals who simply ventured to satisfy their wild architectural fantasies like Nikolai Sutyagin and Hang Viet Nga. Enjoy your free tour!


2 1. Dancing Building

(Prague, Czech Republic) Depicting a man and a woman dancing together, the Dancing Building is an example of deconstructivist architecture. It was built by Frank Ghery in 1996.

2. The Crooked House (Sopot, Poland) Image by brocha

3. Wooden Gangster House (Arkhangelsk, Russia) Image by

4. Crazy House

4 6


(Da Lat, Vietnam) Image via: JonasPhoto

5. Geisel Library (San Diego, USA)

Image by ewen and donabel

6.Ideal Palace (Rhone Valley, France)

An example of naĂŻve art architecture, Ideal Palace was built by a French postman named Ferdinand Cheval. It took 33 years for Cheval to complete this building in the village of Hauterives, Rhone Valley, France. Image by MĂŠlisande*

7. Forest Spiral

(Darmsdadt, Germany) Image byKikos Dad

7 8

8. La Pedrera M

(Barcelona, Spain) Image by joe_aesmorga

9. Cubic Houses Image by vpzone


10. Conch Shell House (Mujeres, Mexico)

Image by Mark Stadnik

11. Erwin Wurm: House Attack

(Viena, Austria) Erwin Wurm, an Austrian artist, placed the house atop the Museum Moderner Kunst for the opening of his exhibition. Image by Dom Dada

14. Kansas City Public Library

(Missouri, United States) This project, located in the heart of Kansas City, represents one of the pioneer projects behind the revitalization of downtown. The people of Kansas City were asked to help pick highly influential books that represent Kansas City. Those titles were included as ‘bookbindings’ in the innovative design of the parking garage exterior, to inspire people to utilize the downtown Central Library. Image by jonathan_moreau

12. Upside Down House (Symbark, Poland)

15. Piano-shaped Building

Image by Radziooz

(Huainan, China)

13. The Basket Building

16. Stone House

(Ohio, United States) The Longaberger Basket Company building in Newark, Ohio might just be the strangest office building in the world. The 180,000-square-foot building, a replica of the company’s famous market basket, cost $30 million and took two years to complete. Many experts tried to persuade Dave Longaberger to alter his plans, but he wanted an exact replica of the real thing. Image by addicted Eyes

19. Chapel in the Rock

(Arizona, United States) Located in Sedona, Arizona, this chapel in the rock is the Chapel of the Holy Cross. The concept of the chapel came to Marguerite Bruswig Staude while she was traveling through Sedona. The chapel was built in 1956. santanartist

20. Puzzling World

(Wanaka, New Zealand) Image by Somerslea


(Guimarães, Portugal) This Flintstones-like house is located in Guimarães, Portugal. Image by Jsome1

17. Mammy’s Cupboard (Mississippi, USA) Image by Live Simply

18. Torre Galatea

(Figueras, Spain) Image by manuelfloresv













Art collaboration brightens Makati’s pedestrian underpasses URBAN PEDESTRIANS will soon enjoy a brighter journey to work. The first-ever underpass art gallery comes alive at the Makati Central Business District with two exhibits: “Looking for Juan” at the Legazpi Underpass and “Everyday Filipino Heroes” at the Sedeno Underpass. Coinciding with the celebration of Independence Day, the project aims to make art more accessible to the public and to liven the pedestrian experience.

The Legazpi Underpass crosses Ayala Avenue from Legazpi Village (near Locsin Building) to Ayala Triangle, while the Sedeno Underpass crosses Paseo de Roxas from Sedeno Street to Ayala Triangle. Ayala Land and Alveo, in collaboration with Center for Art, New Ventures and Sustainable Development (CANVAS) and Makati Commercial Estate Association, will line the underpass walls with selected artwork from CANVAS’ previous exhibitions (“Looking for Juan” – April 2009, Cultural Center of the Philippines and “Everyday Filipino Heroes” – May 2010, UP Vargas Museum). Curated by Marika Constantino, the exhibit will feature works by Bencab, Elmer Borlongan, Sajid Imao, Plet Bolipata and other prominent artists. “Looking for Juan” is a collection that attempts to answer what a Filipino is, while “Everyday Filipino Heroes” portrays heroes like teachers, doctors, etc. we encounter on a daily basis. The project will also promote education and sustainability, as children’s books published by CANVAS will be donated to Makati public schools, while tarpaulins used at the exhibit will be recycled into art tote bags. A non-profit organization that trains women’s communities in Antipolo and Laguna, will spearhead the initiative to convert the tarps into bags. The underpass art exhibit is just one of the events under the “I He(art) Makati. I heart the Philippines. I heart being free” banner. At the adjacent Ayala Triangle Gardens, the country’s first living flag will be displayed with close to 4,000 flowering plants. On June 19, a series of photography contests featuring Makati shall be held at the Triangle Gardens for kids, teens, adults and professional shutterbugs.


Artworks inspired by the theme “Everyday Heroes” and “Who is Juan” have also been installed at the Sedeño and Legaspi pedestrian underpasses



The 150-square meter living flag features more than five thousand flowering plants such as Marigold and Santan

Ayala Triangle Gardens becomes home to the Philippines’ 1st living flag NATURE, CREATIVITY AND NATIONALISM converge in what will become the country’s first living flag, which will be displayed at the Ayala Triangle Gardens in time for Independence Day. The living flag, measuring around 150 square meters, will be made with almost four thousand flowering plants. “Since the Gardens opened to the public in 2009, it has provided a green refuge for urban dwellers and has served as a venue for shared experiences in Makati,” says Meean Dy, head of Ayala Land’s Strategic Landbank Management Group. ‘With Independence day coming up, we are launching the “I he(art) Makati. I heart the Philippines. I heart being free.” series of events that hope to showcase the Gardens and celebrate the Filipino spirit. This is one of them.” The Ayala Triangle Gardens, the city’s main cultural and civic hub will serve as the backdrop to the living flag, its lush foliage and spacious lawns perfectly complementing the creative display of nationalism. Activities will kick off on June 9th with the unveiling of the living flag. Adjacent installations will also provide historical facts and tidbits about the Philippine flag. In line with the Independence Day activities, the Legazpi and Sedeño underpasses will be

transformed into the City’s first pedestrian art galleries. Entitled “Looking for Juan” and “Everyday Filipino Heroes”, the exhibits will feature artworks of Bencab, Elmer Borlongan, Sajid Imao, Plet Bolipata and many others. The project aims to bring art closer to the public and make walking a more pleasurable experience. Finally, a major photography contest featuring Makati will be held. A week-long competition for photography and camera clubs will kick-off on June 9. An on-the-spot contest open to the public for kids, teens and adults will be held on June 19 at the Ayala Triangle Gardens. Free photography sessions by noted professionals, activities for kids and festive photo opportunities at the Gardens. Prizes also await the best vintage personal photographs taken in Makati which will be submitted on the day. For inquiries, email or call (02) 8415812.


A good fusion of food and culture at



Consider these: 340 dishes composed of Asian and Mediterranean cuisines prepared by at least 190 chefs daily. On the side, diners may want to participate in the increasing number of “inter-active stations” that allow on-the-spot cooking, while a lady server does French ritual numbers for bread, old and new wine and at least 12 types of cheese. There is also the new oyster and expanded chartecurie sections where oysters are opened and European cold-cut varieties sliced a la minute, respectively. Same is true for the old-time favorite roasting and grilling corner, where free-range chicken and salmon are available for lunch, while dinner features lamb and rib-eye steak. Health buffs can likewise approve its growing number of healthy dishes that are fresh, sugar-free, low-sodium and low-calorie also prepared by the eatery’s in-house chefs. Raw materials are mainly sourced from Tagaytay’s organic gardens. Behind the flavors and cultural drama of Spiral’s buffet treat is the multi-awarded culinary talent of German Chef Marko Rankel. “Every now and then, we change the menu and introduce some-

thing exciting for our customers,” he says. “This is the reason why they would want to come as often to enjoy the biggest and longest buffet selections that Spiral offers.” The latest of these “live” food ventures is the foie gras station. French for “fat liver”, foie gras, a well-known and popular delicacy in the French cuisine, is a food product made of the liver of a duck or goose that has been specially fattened. Rankel says that Spiral only serves goose liver which is “of higher quality” and “melts in the mouth” when prepared the Spiral way. Of all the sections, the dish has proven to be the latest craze so far, he adds. An a la carte order of this premium delicacy can easily go for P2,000 (US$43). “This means that a serving of the foie gras alone almost covers up already for the P2,200 ($48) net cost of our buffet,” he notes. “And by the way, we are the only restaurant that offers this in our daily buffet menu.” Very soon, diners will also have the opportunity to view actual noodle making and wait for their freshly-prepared noodles to be cooked before them. And be sure to leave room for desert, as the section’s latest introductions, ice cream teppanyaki and pistachio chocolate fountain, will provide a refreshing finishing complement to the main courses. Rankel recommends clients to end the meal with a cup or two of its “very good” Japanese green tea that is also part of the buffet package. A concept restaurant, Spiral is one of the two eateries in the Sofitel-Philippine Plaza Manila that is part of a global chain of this French restaurant. The buffet is open from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and from 6 p.m. to 11 pm. daily. - LCL


an expat perspective PAT HAWKINS

Foreigners Purchasing Real Estate in the Philippines A S AN EXPAT Australian living in the Philippines, I have put my money where my heart is. That is to say, I have purchased both land and condominiums in this country. Having done a comparison of the cost of living in various places some years ago, my wife and I decided to place our investments here. But before giving our hard-earned cash over to any eager developer, we took a good look at the market, as there have been times where local projects have not come to fruition. On each purchase, we decided on a developer with a good track record, put down our initial deposit (which can be anywhere between 5-20%), then paid the property off over the given time span through financing by either the developer or a bank.

The time span, determined by the developer, can be anywhere from 12 months to 15 years. A number of the developers provide finance, but interest rates are exorbitant by western standards. A significant number of developers offer 0 interest for up to 3 to 4 years, with the high-end developers offering no more than 2 years.

Foreigners can own land by forming a corporate entity. The corporation must be at least 60% Filipinoowned, and consist of a minimum of 5 incorporators, with the foreigner(s) owning up to 40% of the corporation.

Obviously, property prices vary given the location and size. Desirable locations in Manila are the Makati CBD, taking in Legaspi and Salcedo Villages, and the new developments available at the adjacent Fort Bonifacio Global City. Both locations offer properties ready for occupancy (RFO), fully furnished, or bare. In addition, properties off plan can save you thousands of dollars and are ready to use within two to four years. Outside of Manila, there are several beach and golf residential developments where you can purchase condominiums or townhouses, or by arrangement can even purchase house and land packages. Foreigners can own land by forming a corporate entity. The corporation must be at least 60% Filipino-owned, and consist of a minimum of 5 incorporators, with the foreigner(s) owning up to 40% of the corporation. I would look into obtaining legal advice before going down this path—in other words, find a good lawyer (solicitor). Second option to owning land is to lease the property from the Filipino landowners for an initial 50-year contract, which is then renewable for the succeeding 25 years. As lessee, you own the buildings and enhancements erected on this land. The most common way of owning land in the Philippines, however, is simply to have your Filipino spouse purchase the real estate. Thus, the land title will be in both your names. In my next column, I will be talking about how to ensure that the title you are obtaining is clean and free of any tax, liens and annotations. Pat Hawkins is an Australian who has been based out of the Philippines for more than 11 years. He has traveled extensively throughout Asia and the Middle East working as a consultant. He is an associate broker at Brokerhouse and deals extensively with the expat real estate market.



Good and Bad:

The stakeholders’ views on the RESA Law

THERE WERE MIXED SIGNALS AND REACTION. In the Luzon and Metro Manila leg of the public consultation on the drafting of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of RA 9646 or the Real Estate Service Act (RESA), stakeholders that include developers, brokers, appraisers and consultants in the government and private sector came to be heard as they made their arguments on various issues that included accreditation and licensing. Here is what some of them have to say:

I understand the fear of many regarding the law. But let’s give it a chance to work first. We should not lose sight of our mission to serve with excellence. And this law will be an important tool to meet this. Ramon Cuervo III Member – PRB-RES

We support this law for proper management and development of the industry. I am of course in favor of licensing of appraisers without examination. Genaro Flores Head of Appraisal Unit – Landbank

The law is supposed to be good for the industry. With proper implementation, I believe we can reach the objective. Nympha S. Bocaling Realtor

Housing is a basic need and so this law is important to protect the buyers. I think this is really more for their benefit. Catherine Garcia Realtor

There are many issues surfacing because I think there were not enough consultations conducted prior to approval of the law. For one, I hope that there will be proper transition because we need time to comply with the provisions, particularly in licensing existing sales agents. What will happen now to unlicensed inhouse and external sales persons who are very good? What will happen to developers who are currently into project selling and are now threatened with losing their unlicensed sales people? I feel this law is biased towards the elite and the educated only. If this is the intention, then licensing and accreditation should start from High School to accommodate interested applicants even from that level. Fred Valencia Realtor


The law will provide the teeth to address employee piracy and competition with unlicensed practitioners. Since the PRBRES has quasi-judicial functions, it can hear and decide on issues in tandem with the Professional Regulatory Commission. What else can we do? The law is the law. So while there may be gray areas, the Board tries to be as benevolent as possible in responding to the issues. Dr. Eduardo Ong

Chairman – PRB-RES

We do not want kolorum agents and for this reason, we welcome the law. But we disagree with the provision mandating at least a two-year college education for sales persons. We have sales persons now who are only High School graduates but are very good in marketing and sales. We hope that at least a five-year industry experience should be enough to compensate for the insufficient academic record. Zeny David Broker – King David Realty

Why are there exemptions? You defeat the purpose and spirit of the law with these exclusions. Bayani Nito Realtor

Over all, the RESA is good for the industry and the public because it will professionalize the practice in terms of ethics and standards. However, there are some provisions with which I do not agree, including limiting the number of sales persons under one broker to 20.

We need to come up with a win-win situation out of the problems we are facing with the implementation of the law. The authorities should honor first the DTI accreditation of many sales agents and not leave them suddenly jobless because of this law.

Domingo de Vera Past President – CREBA Consultant, appraiser, broker

Arvin B. Francisco Realtor, contractor

This is long overdue and the industry needs and welcomes this law. Atty. Ariel Martinez Legal Counsel – PAREB

We can assist in addressing the industry needs in the area of continuing professional education (CPE). We have started to offer this semester four stand-alone courses on land valuation. A diploma program is in the pipeline. Professor Cesar Z. Luna UP Open University

We are concerned about the provision that limits licensing of government employees to only those holding the relevant plantilla positions. Because of the government rationalization program, our numbers had significantly decreased and so we had to do multi-tasking. Many of us, even with no relevant plantilla but with proper training, have to handle land valuation and appraisal due to manpower shortage. We hope that this can somehow be addressed. Engr. Cynthia Lozano and Jovie Hernando Land Management Bureau - LCL


the insider


Global Pinoy, you can help our country survive this shakeup! OVERSEAS FILIPINO WORKERS (OFWs) are said to be modern day heroes. So if you are among the 10 million overseas Filipinos worldwide, be proud. Economically, you really are of great help to our country. Most of you remit your hardearned money to your families here. However, are your remittances enough to support our country’s continuous goal of development? Maybe you can take a step further. Here are some other ways on how you, heroic Global Pinoys, can continue to help our country: You are a hero, be aware of it. You remit your money to help your families. But do you know that your money is helping keep our country afloat? If all of you OFWs would have an inkling of what you are doing for the country, you would have a greater sense of nationalism! This could be a motivating factor for you to strive harder—not only for your families’ future, but for the country’s, as well. Actually, your fates are intertwined. This could be your long-term goal—if you will have your future secured. And what is the best investment option? Real estate. Because land is the basis of all wealth. So my advice is: buy real estate now. Do not

And what is the best investment option? Real estate. Because land is the basis of all wealth. So my advice is: buy real estate now. Do not wait to buy real estate. Instead, buy real estate—and wait. wait to buy real estate. Instead, buy real estate—and wait. Be an endorser. The idea of being an endorser sounds good, doesn’t it? As an OFW, however, you wouldn’t be endorsing a well-known clothing line or a fast-food chain. Instead, you will be endorsing our country to foreigners. If I spoiled your dream of being an endorser, just think of it this way: you are an (unofficial) endorser of the Department of Tourism. Another way is to bring home a friend. Sometimes, though, your endorsement may not be enough. It would be better if you accompany your friends to our country. This way, you can help boost our country’s tourism—and you will have a


wonderful vacation as well. Vote! I’m sure you have heard of absentee voting, where you can vote in voting centers in the country you work in. Voting is not only a right, it is your duty as a citizen, as well. This may be a cliché, but every vote really counts. Your vote may yet start the change you have been wanting for our country. Aside from voting, influence your family to vote, too. Buy Filipino. Many Filipino products are of good export quality. In addition, they are a lot cheaper. Patronize these products and endorse them. Get your friends abroad to endorse them, too. In this way, you can help improve the lives of the laborers who created these products, too. Be proud to be Filipino. Talk about the Philippines, the Filipino race, and Filipino customs and traditions. (But avoid talking about politics and religion. These two topics are sure to spoil all great Filipino gatherings.) We all know it is common for you to send the majority of your remittance to provide for your families’ daily needs, especially school expenses that take up a huge chunk of the family’s budget. However, if you have some money to spare, you could also support the studies of other Filipino children, and help them achieve a better future. You could also support your local church and community. You can support various charities. Although these ways make up a great start in improving our country’s situation, the impact will only be significant if only a number of Overseas Filipinos practice them. Sadly, we cannot expect all of them to have access to this article. Another suggestion, recopy this article and give it to fellow Overseas Filipino workers. ReW For further recommendations, email me at


10 wise investment moves

in real estate 1


Watch out for rock-bottom prices from prime market to newbuilds. Throughout the world, except in a few spots, sales volumes and average property prices are falling. In some places in Europe and the United States, properties carry reduced prices of up to 44 percent. Choice spot: Now is the time to buy into New York real estate. It may never be as low as it has dropped these past few months.



Obviously, in the credit crisis, there are no two ways about it. Building societies will be lending less; borrowing will cost more. Borrow less and dig into—or liquefy—your other assets to buy real estate.



Find the areas that will outperform their neighbors. Now is the time to be extra creative, very innovative. Find projects that stand out despite the crisis.



Now is the time for part-timers and gamblers to bow out. Or, for those who have lots of money but little expertise, make sure you get good advice from a professional.



Property prices are sliding—and the slide is steep. Those who need to sell must reduce the price keenly to make it stand out in a sticky market. In a crisis, fewer are ready to make speculative buys. So broker only the properties with solid, proven value.



Property consultancy firms warn: the riskiest market is the mono-culture, monotenure developments of condos, flats and houseand- lots that all look the same. These properties will have a slow go.



Much lower growth is expected in developed countries outside Asia. So the whole game will be about adding value to the property you buy and looking for uplift in value in areas where the government bailouts work first to unfreeze credit. These are areas where prices will increase by five times, at least. This will require a different type of investor with a different type of risk and gearing.




Some 70 percent of customers say agents are not helpful when it comes to finding the right house, and 69 percent say they are not professional or good value for money. But a good, well-informed agent can help you go a long way.



If you are at the top end of the market, you’re lucky. That’s where you are likely to stay. The “uber market”, inhabited by global millionaires, has enjoyed a 35 percent increase in price this year and will continue to be the strongest sector next year, with a likely rise of eight percent, analysts say.



What are the best buys? Low-cost housing never loses its demand. Another tip— follow the migration routes. Migrating families need homes to stay in. And where there is a demand, prices will tend to stabilize.


DUBAI City of Architectural Marvels




ubai can either refer to an emirate, one of seven, in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in the eastern Arabian Peninsula, but it more popularly refers to that emirate’s main city. The federation of seven states was formed in 1971 after independence from Britain. Although each state­—Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Ajman, Fujairah, Ras al Khaimah, Sharjah and Umm al Qaiwain—maintains a degree of independence, the UAE is governed by a Supreme Council of Rulers made up of the seven emirs, who appoint the prime minister and the cabinet.

The UAE’s economy was dependent on fishing and a declining pearling industry for many decades, but when oil was discovered in the 1950s, and Abu Dhabi began export-


ing oil in 1962, society and government changed dramatically. The late Sheikh Zayed, ruler of Abu Dhabi and president of the UAE at its inception, was quick to seize on the potential of the oil industry. He oversaw the development of all the emirates and directed oil revenues into healthcare, education and the national infrastructure. The oil industry has attracted a large influx of foreign workers. Together with expatriates, they now make up more than three quarters of the population. The UAE is one of the most liberal countries in the Gulf, with other cultures and beliefs generally tolerated. Until December 2006 it was the only state in the region not to have elected bodies.

DUBAI PROPERTY HIGHLIGHTS THE COUNTRY’S GROWING BUSINESS SECTOR and its tourist industry have helped to fuel a construction boom, with billions of dollars being pumped into showpiece schemes. Chic hotels and skyscrapers are emblematic of cities such as Abu Dhabi and cosmopolitan Dubai. GDP IN 2007 registered at US$ 54.3 billion ECONOMIC GROWTH at a Compounded Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 18% over the past seven years NON-OIL GDP GROWTH driven by logistics, finance, tourism and real estate sectors POPULATION CAGR of 8% between 2003 and 2007, with current population estimates at 1.6 million inhabitants GOVERNMENT STATISTICS estimate the population will increase to 2.2 million inhabitants by 2010, representing a CAGR of 10.8% PROPORTION OF EXPATRIATE POPULATION in Dubai is expected to increase to 87% by 2010 STEADY POPULATION GROWTH and strong wages underpinned by buoyant economic conditions provide the impetus for real estate demand. But the sheer scale of new development raises some concerns about how sustainable the current real estate boom can be AVERAGE UAE SPENDING POWER of US$ 14,400 per household per annum AVERAGE SPENDING POWER PER ANNUM of US$ 23,000 for ‘Emirati’ households, US$ 19,500 for ‘Western’ households, US$ 13,500 for ‘Other Arab’ households and US$ 10,000 for ‘Asian’ households OLIGOPOLISTIC MARKET STRUCTURE with high-net worth individuals disproportionately controlling large volumes of real estate stock CONTINUED ASSET VALUE GROWTH supported by ‘liquidity cushion’, reflecting tolerance of investors towards longer vacancy rates rather than reduction in rental values 107 | REAL ESTATE WORLD



Meetings and greetings DO NOT ARRANGE APPOINTMENTS ON FRIDAYS, the Muslim day of prayer and rest. HANDSHAKES ARE STANDARD IN BUSINESS (though some Lebanese and Europeans kiss cheeks). However, many men and women from the Gulf will not shake hands with the opposite sex. Wait for a hand to be offered. In place of a handshake, you can place your right hand over the heart. BUSINESS CARDS ARE ESSENTIAL. Always carry a small stack with you. They are usually handed out at the beginning of the meeting, after a formal greeting. EXPATRIATES CAN LIVE IN DUBAI QUITE COMFORTABLY WITHOUT EVER UTTERING A WORD OF ARABIC. Still, a few Arabic phrases are always well received. The basic greeting is as-salaamu aleikum (“peace be upon you”). Its reply is aleikum assalam. Try using marhaba as a general “welcome”, and min fudluk (please) and shukran (thank you). THE ARABIC PHRASE INSH’ALLAH (“if God wills it”) is sometimes used as a delaying tactic. BUSINESS MEETINGS OFTEN BEGIN WITH LEISURELY CHIT-CHAT. Since Emiratis tend to be proud of their country’s fast development, as well as


mindful of its impact on local culture, a question about Dubai’s latest projects is a good way to break the ice. TREAD CAREFULLY WHEN DISCUSSING RELIGION AND POLITICS. Few Emiratis will welcome a critique of their system of government from a foreign visitor, and some can take such remarks quite personally.

from dawn until dusk. Working hours are shortened: many firms, including Western ones, close at 1pm. Normal life resumes after sundown and shops stay open until after midnight. Networking opportunities abound in the majlis— the tents set up by Dubai’s movers and shakers (usually from 10pm until 2am). An invitation to smoke shisha and drink Turkish coffee in a majli can be a great way to close a deal, though they remain very much a male preserve. PERSONAL CONNECTIONS (wasta in Arabic) are important, but not essential. Once you qualify to join a place like Dubai Internet City, staff will often use their wasta to open doors for you. DON’T EXPECT BUSINESSES TO CLOSE FOR CHRISTIAN HOLIDAYS, such as Christmas and Easter.

MOST LOCAL MEN WEAR A DISHDASHA (a crisp white ankle-length shift) and gutra (head cloth). Many local women wear an abaya (floor-length robe) in public.

DURING RAMADAN, the ninth month of the Muslim calendar, Muslims fast

ALCOHOL IS SERVED ONLY IN THE RESTAURANTS, bars and nightclubs of hotels that have licenses (that’s most of them). It is illegal to consume it elsewhere, unless you live in Dubai and have a license. EMIRATIS TEND NOT TO DRINK, especially in public, but the Lebanese are great boozers (Lebanon’s Bakaa Valley produces some excellent wines). ALCOHOL IS NOT USUALLY PART OF A BUSINESS LUNCH. It is wise to follow the lead of your host.

When to go THE BEST TIME TO VISIT DUBAI IS FROM OCTOBER TO APRIL. Try to avoid the sweltering summer (JuneSeptember). THE REAL DISCOMFORT IN SUMMER COMES FROM THE HUMIDITY. Drink plenty of water and protect yourself from the sun. Hats, sunscreen and sunglasses are strongly recommended, and it is best to stay indoors or in the shade during peak hours (11am-2pm).

Working habits

WORK ATTIRE IN DUBAI TENDS TO BE QUITE FORMAL, except on Thursdays, when many companies adopt a casual look. Women should dress modestly, covering shoulders, upper arms and knees. This is especially important during Ramadan.

arrange an evening meal in a hotel restaurant, perhaps followed by a visit to an Arabic nightclub. Dinner can start late, and tends to be a leisurely affair.

Eating and drinking MOST OF WHAT IS CONSIDERED ARABIC FOOD IN DUBAI IS, IN FACT, LEBANESE. Grilled meats, salads and flat breads are relatively cheap and fairly healthy. ENTERTAINING AT HOME IS UNUSUAL. Your contacts will probably

SUMMER IS ALSO THE EASIEST TIME TO CATCH A COLD, oddly enough. Newcomers can often be spotted by their coughs and sneezes as they move between the steamy streets and Dubai’s fierce air-conditioning. ReW

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A Dream Come True

IN 1989, JOSE ALBERTO YULO QUIROS from Canlubang Sugar Estates and Bienvenido R. Tantoco, Jr. from the Rustan’s Group of Companies, toyed with the idea of building a world-class golf course on a piece of property in Sta. Rosa, Laguna that belonged to the Quiros family. Both golfers, the two men dreamed of creating a golfing experience that would rival that of the world’s best golf courses. As time went by, their idea developed further into a plan to incorporate “pockets of residential enclaves in and around the golf course”. Since the property was conveniently located right beside the South Luzon Expressway, a 40-minute drive from Metro Manila, the two men immediately saw its potential as an alternative suburban community. Their logic was simple: big cities were becoming less and less places for families. Even those who could afford to live in plush communities at city centers were beginning to think of finding spaces where the quality of life was more conducive for raising families. In 1990, with the help of their friend, architect and master planner Jun Palafox, and the renowned golf course designer Robert Trent Jones, Jr., the two men set out to design and develop Sta. Elena. Envisioning it as a place for a luxury residential community surrounded by lush tropical rainforests and a dramatic golf landscape, they named it “Sta. Elena”, after Maria Elena Yulo Quiros, Jose Alberto’s mother. Today, Sta. Elena is often referred to as The Garden of Eden. Its fairways have received numerous awards and citations, including Best Course in the Philippines from 2002 to 2007 by Asian Golf Monthly. Its forests are certified by Audubon International, as an Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary, as a bird sanctuary. The Philippine archipelago has an astounding mix of more than 593 species of resident and migratory birds, of which more than 30 percent


or 181 of the species are endemic. Despite the high degree of endemism, very few Filipinos are aware of the country’s avifaunal diversity. Many of these birds are now endangered. Thus, it is this—that it is a sanctuary not only for birds, but even butterflies—that makes Sta. Elena stand out and become more than just another luxury golf resort. The place is not only a world-class golf course, but an environmental zone and a dream community combined. Sta. Elena’s award-winning forests and fairways make up the perfect place for a family’s dream home. Its forests and fairways are carbon sinks and nature preserves. With the completion of its villages, families may now live and relish Sta. Elena’s one-of- a-kind charm and elegance. Located less than an hour away from Makati and just 30 minutes from Ayala Alabang and Filinvest Corporate City, Sta. Elena also offers easy access to top rate schools including De La Salle University-Canlubang, St. Scholastica’s College, Don Bosco School and Brent School. A range of shopping and entertainment options are also close by— from multi-level shopping centers such as Alabang Town Center and Filinvest Mall to rustic retreats in Tagaytay and Batangas. Just minutes from the city, residents are transported into another world—a very private, luxurious and almost sublime community. ReW




Her Dad’s Daughter,



KARMI PALAFOX IS HER DAD’S DAUGHTER, in only the best ways. She displays the same passion for urban planning, the same energy, the same commitment. Moreover, given time, Karmi is bound, not only to carry on her father’s work, but to become a bigger mover and shaker, compared to him. Even her father, the excellent architect and urban planner Felino A. Palafox, Jr., who founded the multi-disciplinary firm of architects, interior designers, engineers, landscape architects, and environmental and urban planners, admits this. “She’s more interdisciplinary than me. While I’m trained in the study of the physical world— architecture, environmental planning, real estate development—Karmi brings with her added training in economics. She’s also more of the Global Pinoy, having been born abroad—I was working in Dubai when she was born— and having traveled to 30 countries. Yes, the elder Palafox is right to expect a lot from his daughter: At her young age, Karmi has tucked under her belt two masters degrees from prestigious institutions: a Masters in Industrial Economics from the University of Asia and the Pacific, and one in Urban Planning, specializing in Urban Design, from the United Kingdom’s Oxford Brookes University.


She also holds a Certificate in Entrepreneurship and Building a Business from the University of Oxford’s Business School. While no architect, Karmi is well-versed with the physical science and geography courses. Boning up on these subjects on her own, she took the country’s Environmental Planning board exam last year (2008) and did not only pass it, but earned a rank of top 6. If credentials mean nothing to you, consider the critical work she has already done: Not even 30 years old, Karmi has worked on the Comprehensive Land Use Plan for Aurora Province, Conceptual Development Plan for the City of Navotas, Alaminos and the Hundred Islands, Quirino Province, and Bacoor in Cavite, the Integrated Tourism Master Plan for Boracay Island, Carabao Island, Malay, Nabas and Bururanga, the Tourism Master Plan for Metro Iloilo and Guimaras, the Laguna Lakefront Development Plan, a proposed master plan for a socially-inclusive and energy-efficient Taguig City, master plans for properties in Sudan, India’s Punjab, and Saudi Arabia’s Riyadh, plans for islands in Calamianes in Palawan, and dozens of other plans. Life is surely looking up for this young urban and environmental planner.

Daddy’s Girl STILL it wasn’t always a bed of roses for her. Like many children of leaders, geniuses, and talented movers, Karmi had to learn to live with her father’s constant absences, and the idiosyncrasies that come with high intelligence. “Until now, my dad works a lot. At times he

works 14-15-hour work days. Now that he is older, he has slowed down a bit, but there are still times when he would be out of the country or out of town. And when I was a young girl, that was a big deal for me. ‘Why doesn’t my dad see me on my birthday?’ – things like that.” “And you know how kids compare? So there were times when I felt odd. My dad was very firm about his values, so we never had a huge house. Most of my classmates’ families (at De La Salle Zobel) lived in big houses. My dad always said that it’s better to invest in traveling. So we really traveled a lot from the time I was eight. “And our leisure time was quite different compared to others. While other families would go to the malls, we’d drive around Laguna Lake or Taal Lake, or travel out of town and look at the churches.” All this, however, made profound impressions on the bright young girl, so much so that while she is brilliant (this is no exaggeration) and qualified to do virtually anything under the sun, she eventually chose urban planning. “Traveling a lot with my family, I learned to appreciate urban planning… like there is this town in Luzon (I think Cuenca) where the houses aren’t aligned with the street—they’re tilted a bit to shade themselves from the heat of the noonday sun, and things like that… all impressed me. “But in high school, I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do. My choices for a college course include - at UP (University of the Philippines), I chose (and passed into) Dentistry. At La Salle, I chose Accounting. I even considered law school for a while… So my interests were really diverse. “I decided to take up Economics in UA&P. At around this time, we also transferred to Rockwell, after living in the suburbs (Alabang) for 15 years. So, while I was learning about Mixed-Use Developments from my dad


—which was quite a new concept then—we also lived in one. It was only natural that I started relating urban planning and economics.” Rockwell Center is a 15.5-hectare upscale, mixed-used development in Makati, one of the country’s first. “We stayed at the 35th floor of a condo, as well, so I got a good view of Metro Manila, and I’d see that everyday. So that also inspired me to go, eventually, into urban planning.”

Environment Shapes People SUCH experiences have led Karmi to realize and appreciate the power environments have over human psyches, well-being, relationships, interactions, and the power the environment has over the economic and political aspects of society, as well. Thus, one of her favorite sayings is, “while people shape the environment, the environment shapes them as well.” Such thoughts have led Karmi to her calling: “So I’d like to think that, instead of being cynical, if we could plan and design the environment properly, Filipinos will be conditioned by their environment.” Like most people who think of their work as vocations, the young Palafox can be fiercely passionate about her ideals, and her stand for the environment. “Usually, our clients for master plans are developers or landowners who come to us and say, ‘here is a piece of land, what’s the best deal for it? Here’s the slope, what would be the magnet land use? The landmark structure or building? Understandably many developers really just want to get back their value for the land. Sadly, there’s also a tendency not to respect the natural topography of the area or make use of available local resources.” “So when we look at the economic, political, social and environment factors, and of course, what would sell—for me, I’d like to instill in our firm a strong bias for the environment. “That’s what I really appreciate about my UK training—that we’re very head-on about planning for the environment.” One notable case is the Palafox project in Boracay—the Integrated Tourism Master Plan for Boracay Island, Carabao Island, Malay, Nabas and Bururanga, she adds. “Here, the balance with the environment really has to come in,” she says. In this worldfamous beach resort, we’re really beginning to see the pressure on the environment, she notes. “What’s difficult about this project is that several government agencies and private entities have their own plan, of course everyone would like to take part in Boracay. And, while everyone’s talking about the environment, no one is really putting their money


into it… a lot of property owners didn’t even follow the basic setback—which is supposed to be at least 25m from the mean high water mark on the shore…” Indeed, being outspoken, firm and tough, are things that make Karmi standout from her “nicer” father. The underlying sense of idealism and purpose, however, is inherited. Palafox Associates, after all, is what the senior Palafox likes to call a Triple E rated company. “If there’s corruption in a project, we report it and walk away,” Felino Palafox Jr. says firmly. This has been quite a challenge for the firm, costing it at least a third of its contracts. “We don’t accept at least 30 percent of contracts because of corruption, and we’ve been this way from our very first project, which we got when I was 22 years old,” he says. “Because, apart from creativity and innovation, our core values also include honesty and integrity, professionalism and spirituality,” he says proudly. Our firm is a triple E bottomline com-

pany—we look after the environment, the economy and even social equity. We include the poor also,” he notes. The Palafoxes are also ‘notorious’ for valuing knowledge above material gain. The firm has a library collection of architecture, planning, and design books and computer programs worth millions. “People ask, how come you don’t have a building? I tell them, we invest in knowledge,” the elder Palafox says. At Palafox, knowledge is so much valued, that, people who make mistakes are not encouraged to hide it, but to record it in a log, “Lessons Learned From Mistakes Made.” Of course, best practices are also recorded, so that they can be shared and replicated.

Learning to Leveraging It AS REBELLION is the nature of the young, it took some time before Karmi realized that she was destined to carry on her father’s work. First, she had to find herself. Traveling a lot

While people shape the environment, the environment shapes them as well. By planning and designing Philippine environments thoughtfully, we can help shape our nation's collective psyche.

during and after college gave her the independence she needed to become what she is today. Karmi has visited 30 countries, lived in England by herself, explored cities such as London, Boston and Paris by herself, and backpacked around Italy.. While completing her postgraduate course in Urban Planning in the UK, she also worked two part-time jobs and represented her class in the university student council. All these, only to come home, take up her father’s work. Today, Karmi enjoys her work immensely, and is so involved with it that she doesn’t even have the time to have a love interest. Often, such talk even annoys her. “One of the things that really disappoints me is not being taken seriously. For instance, in the thick of an important discussion over a master plan, instead of asking more about it, a man I’m discussing with will ask me “Are you seeing someone?”

“So yes, it’s still a man’s world.” She sighs. Smart as she is, however, Karmi has learned to turn this—and other obstacles—to her advantage: “But then, because I’m different (i.e, a woman) people in the industry are bound to listen to me. Sometimes, simply because I’m a woman, even middle-aged and important men will have to ask me– maybe out of courtesy, at first—‘what do you think?’ Then this gives me a chance to push for what I believe in.” “And since Filipino culture involves being diplomatic, gentlemanly and all, what my dad can’t say, I can,” she notes wryly. “Because my dad’s too nice, I have learned to be tough. Well, not from day one, but yes, since it’s a man’s world, I couldn’t give myself the luxury to cry.” “And I am enjoying my work very much

now. I’ve thought about it: if I had pursued work abroad, I’d be limited to apprehending developers—asking some person why he had built something a certain way. Whereas here, I have the opportunity to help create communities and new townships.” “If I stayed abroad, I wouldn’t be able to make a contribution. I’d be reduced to complaining, ‘our environment is degrading, Metro Manila is so unplanned’…and all that… “Early on, it was a tough decision to stay. When I went into planning, people would say, ‘oh, you have big shoes to fill!’ So, for a while, I was in denial about continuing in the footsteps of my father. Also, I very much enjoyed the independence of living abroad. “And up to now, I still get job offers—like as a planning manager of an eco-island near Bali, or as urban planner/urban designer in the Middle East and UK. It’s so frustrating to get those offers from outside the Philippines! “But I’ve decided to stay. Anywhere else, I’d just be complaining from the stands. Here, I can make a difference. “Then, when I really thought about it, I realized that it was actually an opportunity—everything I had. Because, as they say, young people are so idealistic. “So now, when people say I have big shoes to fill, I just think to myself, ‘oh I’ll wear higher heels…’” she says, laughing. “And even my lineage is a lucky thing, at the end of the day. Because otherwise, if I was not my dad’s daughter, when I sit with top developers, taipans, senators and mayors, there’s no way I can mention my ideals. But because I am my father’s daughter, I can say, ‘ok, I see where you’re coming from, but on the other hand…’ Being a Palafox is a foot in the door.” KARMI is lucky, indeed. But so is the country, and so are we all. The United Nations predicts that by next year, 2010, more than half, or 51.3 percent, of the world’s population would be living in cities. But because of current inequalities and development paths, the world is fast becoming a Planet of Slums, warns Mike Davis, American scholar, social commentator, urban theorist, historian, and political activist. Even today, close to half of all Filipinos live in some of these abject communities. It could get worse. Or it could get better. Much depends on what we do in the next few years. Against such backdrop, people like Karmi— idealistic, competent, driven, ambitious, and committed to stay in the country—are nothing less than heaven sent. REW


the property law

How to buy real estate (almost) worry-free TODAY, IT’S INCREASINGLY RISKY to


buy real estate anywhere in the Philippines. You face the prospects of poor materials or workmanship, delayed, inadequate—or even absent—structures, mortgaged or absent titles, and other problems. Worse, you may find yourself duped into parting with your hardearned money.

The dangers exist not for want of laws, rules and regulations. There’s enough legal stuff, but people do not know these. This column is meant to arm ordinary buyers with sufficient information to help prevent the headaches associated with making a real estate purchase. Here are some tips: Look for permits and licenses. If buying within a townhouse, subdivision or condo, the seller must be able to show you a subdivision approval or development permit—issued by the respective mayor or the sanggunian bayan, or by the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board or HLURB, and a certificate of registration and a license to sell, also issued by the HLURB. Having all three permits is not fool-proof assurance, but guarantees at least that government will try to correct problems that crop up. Check the title. A title indicates the existence of a piece of real estate. It contains a technical description of the property’s precise boundaries and area, identifies the name of the registered owner, and may also include annotation or record of any other interest in the property. Always insist on getting a copy. Then present this to the proper Register of Deeds to see if a copy of it is on file. To know which Register of Deeds to go to, check the upper portion of title’s first page. You may also have the technical description plotted out to check if the boundaries are complete, and if the indicated area is accurate. Visit the property. There is nothing like seeing a property firsthand. Also bring along the people who will eventually live, or have a real stake, in the property. An on-site visit will allow you to spot things that you could otherwise miss: steps are high for the small children, the room is too small, space is too cramp, etc. Get a copy of documents to be signed and study them before signing. These include a reservation agreement (though not always required), a contract to sell, and a deed of absolute sale. For a condo, a master deed with declaration of restrictions is indispensable, providing the general terms and conditions governing the project. Read these documents and have the provisions that are not clear explained to you by the developer and seller before you sign. Pay special attention to provisions regarding payments—from reservation, downpayment, amortization, interest and charges for delayed payments, to miscellaneous expenses. Keep track of the exact amounts, in pesos and centavos, and their due dates. Find out about project completion. When the house or unit will be finished, livable and delivered to you is clearly indicated in the license to sell.


Also make sure that there is a written record of details of what to expect in the house or unit, such as size or area, features (with partitions, etc.), flooring, ceiling and wall finishing, electrical fixtures, color, etc. Know the persons you are dealing with. Deal only with those who can present credentials: ID cards, letters of authority, HLURB certifications, or licenses from the Bureau of Trade Regulation and Consumer Protection of the Department of Trade and Industry. Always record the names of those you speak with—lowly clerks, mid-level or top management—their contact numbers, and the date and approximate time of the interaction. There are many part-timers in selling real estate, one-time agents who are in this only for the commission—including well-meaning friends and relatives. If you have to deal with this bunch, look for the guy behind them with the credentials. There may still be some bad apples, but you have a better chance of going after credentialed guys, and getting some remedy should you fall into the wrong hands. Know the seller. The permits will tell you who the seller is, but beyond that, know the reputation of the person or entity selling to you. Check with the HLURB, which maintains records of developers, if any complaint has been filed about the specific project you plan to buy into. To inquire, present the name of the owner-developer as well as the project’s name and location. The number and nature of complaints given the size of the project will give you a more informed judgment of the developer’s reputation. Lastly, don’t rely on just one of the foregoing tips. For a worry-free purchase, consider all, or most, of these tips. ATTY. WILLIAM L. JASARINO has a Political Science degree from the University of the Philippines, Manila, units in Masters in Business Administration from UP Diliman, and a law degree from the Ateneo de Manila University. He was the former Executive Director of the Chamber of Real Estate and Builders’ Associations, Inc. His firm, Jasarino, Young, & Librojo Law Offices is found at Unit 1701 Tektite Tower I (East) Exchange Road, Ortigas Center, 1606 Pasig City Metropolitan Manila. He can be reached at +632 635 5653; +632 635 5628; +632 635 5641, or fondevillalaw@


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Color Therapy for Your Home BY AMY CAVOSORA

SIMILAR TO AROMA THERAPY, color therapy is based on the belief that we can achieve wellness and healing through our senses. As you can guess, aroma therapy focuses on the sense of smell— linked to the sense of taste—to bring forth changes in the human body. Color therapy works through the sense of sight, although it also affects our sense of touch. Today recognized as a form of complementary medicine in the US and Europe, it is offered in international spas as part of their wellness packages. Others combine color with aroma therapy, and some with sound therapy. As with aroma therapy, you can buy gadgets for color therapy, such as special lamps and light bulbs. These forms of therapy are based on the “chakra system” which originated in India, with the word “chakra” being a Sanskrit term for “wheel”,


In color therapy, each of the seven chakras corresponds to each color in the rainbow. The rainbow colors belong to the spectrum of visible light, and an eighth color, magenta, is produced when two rainbows are combined. Since color therapy aims for balance in energy, try to have a balance in coloring. Moderation is the key. referring to the shape of the energy center. The human body has seven basic chakras or energy centers, and anyone who’s taken yoga classes or tried Ayurvedic medicine would be familiar with chakra system. In color therapy, each of the seven chakras corresponds to each color in the rainbow. The colors of the rainbow belong to the spectrum of visible light, and an eighth color, magenta, is produced when two rainbows are combined. Here’s a brief rundown of the seven colors, connected to the seven chakras, with keywords for the meaning of each chakra and color. •  Red: base chakra, refers to identity, survival, instinct, grounding. •  Orange: sex chakra, refers to emotions and relationships. •  Yellow: navel chakra, refers to will power, “digestion” of ideas, purpose, expression, creativity. •  Green: heart chakra, refers to balancing, compassion, self-love •  Turquoise: throat chakra, refers to communication, honesty, sound. •  Indigo: third eye chakra, refers to sixth sense, intuition, insight, and the paranormal. •  Purple/Violet: crown chakra, refers to

wisdom, receptivity, spirituality. When applying the concepts of color therapy to your living space, the primary consideration is the person or persons using the space, and the amount of time that the space is used. That’s because color can either heal or hurt you, depending on your level of emotional and mental balance. For example, bright colors are not recommended for autistic children or those prone to ADD or hyperactivity, since they would cause over-stimulation . Those prone to depression would do well to avoid blue colors since that would add to their

blues. General rules however, can apply. So if you have a blue bedroom that you only use for sleeping, the color blue is tolerable. If, however, you like to cocoon in your bedroom all day, the prolonged exposure to blue would not be helpful. Since color therapy aims for balance in energy, try to have a balance in coloring. Moderation is the key. If you must absolutely use your favorite blue shade in your bedroom, or if you’re forced to stay in your blue-themed bedroom because of sickness, try to surround yourself with other colors. Here are some tips: Red—ideal for spots that require energy and action. You might like the idea of a red-walled bedroom if you’re into sports, but it might not be a good idea for inducing sleep. Orange—for spots used to generate happy emotions. Use peach to tone down the energy, although dark orange living rooms, dining corners and kitchens can have nice positive effects. Yellow—for spots that need thinking energy, such as study areas. Since it’s related to the digestive system, it can also be used for the kitchen and dining rooms. If you like to entertain, a yellow-themed living room or den produces more mental chatter, rather than emotion-laden heart-to-heart talks, unless you include something orangey into the mix. Green—for spots that want to make people feel relaxed. This is the ideal color for anywhere in the home, actually. If you have a meditation or prayer space, this is a good color since it connects you with your heart chakra, to access compassion for oneself and others. This is preferable to purple and violet, the crown chakra color, since this can be too spiritual and un-grounded for some people. Turquoise—for spots that require peaceful energy. But it may make visitors sleepy if you use this for your living room or dining area, so this is better for baths and bedrooms. Indigo—for spots that are used for reflection. Ideal for study areas and bedrooms, but if you’re prone to depression, add some bright touches to the bedroom to tone down indigo. Purple/Violet—for spots to help generate creativity or spiritual concerns. Like green, this can be used for anywhere in the home, but it might dampen social activities, unless you’re usi2ng your space for artistic or spiritual endeavors with other people. If you prefer this for imbuing your space with spiritual energy, try to balance the energy and ground it with either color green or yellow, or anything earth-toned. ReW 119 | REAL ESTATE WORLD



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